Thursday, February 22, 2018--Reading: Mark 8:31-38
When Jesus tells his disciples that he (the Son of Man) is going to undergo "great suffering," Peter (as usual) reacts strongly. In this case Peter tells Jesus he doesn't know what he's talking about.
Jesus then gives the line, "Get behind me, Satan," implying both that Peter's sentiment is (unintentionally) evil and that nobody's getting in Jesus' way of heading to Jerusalem and the cross.
Then Jesus tells everyone there, and us, that to follow him means picking up a cross--to suffer, to make sacrifice, to give one's life for this cause of living God's love.
Right now I hear this and think of people like Scott Beigel, a teacher; Aaron Feis, a coach; and Peter Wang, a fellow student and JROTC member, who died during the Parkland, Florida, school shooting while trying to protect students. These are people who gave their lives in a singular moment, who sacrificed all that they had in love for their fellow human beings.
We should honor them for their loving sacrifice, which also may remind us of Jesus' love.
But most of us don't bear our cross in one defining sacrificial action.
As the late, great preacher Fred Craddock has put it, we might think that giving our lives to God is like taking a thousand or hundred dollars and laying it on a table to give to God.
But Craddock says that most often, God sends us to the bank with our Benjamins ($100 bills) and has us exchange them for rolls of quarters, so that each day when we go to a committee meeting or help a person in need, we give up portions of our lives one coin at a time, "little by little over the long haul."*
Bearing a cross daily may not be as total a sacrifice as dying to protect others, but both give glory to God, and daily sacrifices help us do the long haul work of striving for God's kingdom.
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Milford, CT 06460
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