Sermon October 7 Pente 22B 2018
The Rev. John M. Atkins

Gospel of Mark 10:2-16
2 Some Pharisees came, and to test Jesus they asked, “Is it lawful for
a man to divorce his wife?”  3 He answered them, “What did Moses
command you?”  4 They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a
certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.”  5 But Jesus said to them,
“Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for
you. 6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and
female.’  7 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,  8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So
they are no longer two, but one flesh.  9 Therefore what God has
joined together, let no one separate.”
10 Then in the house the disciples asked Jesus again about this
matter.  11 He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries
another commits adultery against her;  12 and if she divorces her
husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
13 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might
touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them.  14 But when
Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little
children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these
that the kingdom of God belongs.  15 Truly I tell you, whoever does
not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”
16 And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and
blessed them.
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Those without voice wait for those who do.
During the 17 &1800’s, Africans sold into slavery were without voice.
Courageous individuals risked reputation and their lives voicing opposition to the
barbaric slave trade.
Among those brave voices were the Rev. Dr. Lyman Beecher, daughter
Harriett Beecher Stowe, son Henry Ward Beecher, and daughter Catherine
Beecher. Other fearless abolitionist voices include Senator Charles Sumner, John
Brown, William Lloyd Garrison, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglas and Harriett

Certain Ohio farmers along the Ohio River risked everything in providing a
stop along the Underground Railroad.
Those without voice wait for those who do.
Animal abusers are cowards. Their anger and hatred directed toward
defenseless creatures of God is both shameful and unethical. Abusers think that
only a few people will even care. I’m an advocate for the humane treatment of
animals – and I will continue voicing and acting on the behalf of defenseless and
voiceless animals.
Those without voice wait for those who do.
Jesus gave voice opposing an unethical, abusive system. At the time of
Jesus, Jewish custom concerning divorce had become extremely abusive to
women. For only minor infractions, a man could divorce his wife, leaving her with
In first century Jewish religious tradition, being male was of high regard.
Women were lowly without power, without voice. If divorced, a woman lost her
home, disgraced her family, and often became a homeless, street-beggar.
Jesus gave women voice. He did this at the risk of losing his rabbinical
reputation and male followers. In fact, Jesus blatantly criticized Jewish society and
religious tradition. Jesus challenged the powerful – men – the usual bread-
winners, those more religiously educated, those given privileges because they were
Jesus emphatically opposed to divorce – not because of most reasons for
divorce today – but because women were left with little to nothing, pushing
women farther away from any sense of worthiness in being included as valuable
members of society and beloved children of God.

Those without voice wait for those who do.
To emphasize his opposition to divorce, once again, Jesus advocated for
children – another group of the powerless.
“Let the little ones come to me,” Jesus told his disciples. Paraphrasing,
Jesus continued: “Those without power, those dependent upon God’s loving
embrace, those needing what I provide, they belong to God’s Kingdom. And you
must be one of them in order to enter.”
Today, while you and I have power of voice for advocating and acting on
behalf of those without voice, we, too, must realize our dependence upon God’s
grace and love. We, too, must recognize that our courage is God’s gift. We, too,
must open ourselves to God as a little child opens their arms to be held.
Jesus desires the power of voice to be intertwined with dependence upon
God. For in using our voice for the benefit of all creation, we proclaim God’s