Millstones

I’ve been wondering lately about Jesus’ warning in Matthew 18:6 to his disciples/humanity that “If you cause one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better to have a millstone tied around your neck and be thrown in the sea.”  It just so happens that we get another mention of the millstone in today’s daily office reading from Revelation.  I am not a Revelation scholar, but I am sure that the writer of Revelation/John intentionally used this image in referring to Babylon, the city that more than any other, opposed through policy and priorities, what the writer believes is God’s will.  Babylon has become a stumbling block for the little ones and according to John, is now being brought down because of it.There are so many issues with our contemporary readings of Revelation that it becomes challenging to even mention the book without always acknowledging the harm done by shallow or misguided interpretations.  Tabling that need to address those faults, I am curious how to read Revelation while living in the country whose policies and priorities most resemble ancient Babylons’.  Our merchants are the most savvy/business cruel in the world and we all benefit from the wealth that their trading produces.  Who gets the millstone?  All of us?  Just the people we don’t like?  Does it even matter?So much energy has been spent on predicting what punishment will befall Babylon, or who get punished; books, movies, and countless sermons have been circulated on the subject.  Instead of adding to the mountain of material today, I would like to suggest that we concentrate on removing the stumbling blocks.  This is the hard work as I see it; to discern what stands in the way of someone’s full experience of God’s grace and do our part to remove whatever that may be.  This may mean dispelling the myth that we serve a Christ that seeks revenge and punishment and acting in accordance with that belief.  It may mean humbling ourselves to be self-reflective enough to see how our actions (active or passive) lead to the multiplication of stumbling blocks in this world.  Who knows?  Since we are people who believe in the “bread of life,” maybe our focus should be on how the millstone prepares the flour for that bread.  Ultimately, that would be a better, and more productive, use for a millstone rather than its usage as a sinker. Let’s make bread peeps! not stumbling blocks.

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