Sunday, March 08, 2009

2nd Sunday in Lent

Today's Link
BigDadGibb Network

Today's Saying
Mark 8:34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me
Today's Picture
A sign of Spring ?

Today the liturgical churches are celebrating the second Sunday in Lent and the gospel for those using the Common Lectionary is Mark 8:31-38. In this text Jesus explains that he is going to be rejected, suffer and be killed. This upsets Peter.
Whenever I read this text I think of my grandfather. He often said to me when I was a little boy that he was going to die. I would respond your not going to die grandpa. I love you.
When people tell us they are going to die they usually want us to respond with a negative. They want to hear they are going to live. They want us to say that they are important to us. That’s human nature.
So when Jesus tells the disciples that he is going to die Peter reacts in the normal fashion. He rebukes him. He tells him it won’t happen. They will protect him.
But Jesus response to Peter is not the expected one. He demands that they accept the truth of what is coming. He then calls on them to pick up their cross and come with him.
No soft sell Christianity here. No promises that everything will be wonderful. Instead the disciples are given a drab picture of what is coming and asked to stay with him. The miracle of faith is that they do.
There is a real temptation in life to see the hard times and the bad things that come to us as our cross. You hear people say “ I guess it’s my cross and I just have to carry it.” But in A Christian sense they are wrong. The Christian cross is something you choose to take up as you follow Jesus. So having cancer is not your cross but going into a war zone to treat the injured from both sides is.
I have struggled with this text ever since I accepted the fact that Christ had really saved me.
I really wanted to be His disciple.
But I also wanted comfort, money, and lots and lots of things. Those are not crosses.
When I graduated from college I almost went to work for GE at a very good salary instead of going to seminary.
After seminary I considered going on the Mission field but was unwilling to give up that much.
Instead I took a Parish and felt guilty.
Not that I got rich on what they paid me but my life was comfortable not much of a cross.
I prayed. I tried to do what God wanted. I shared the good news.
I served people in every way I could.
But I still felt guilty.
But little by little I began to see God directing me.
I came to see that what was important was placing God above the world and everything else.
To the best of my ability I had done that and still do.
But this text still bothers me.

News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal
The Bishop came to Pigeon Falls this morning. He preached the sermon at Last Lutheran. Here is a bit of that sermon:
“I am here to tell you about a job.
This job requires eight years of preparation, four years of regular college and four years of additional study.
It will pay less than most people get after four years of college.
When you start the job you will probably have huge college debts to pay off.
Some people will think you are overpaid .
You will work long hours.
In the middle of your vacation you may get called back for an emergency.
Your children may be picked on because of who you are.
People will come to you thinking you have a magic wand and expecting the impossible.
The job, of course, is Pastor and only those willing to take up their cross and follow Jesus need apply.
But those who do will be rewarded.
They will see the healing power of God’s Word.
They will see people set free from sin.
They will see the wonder of miracles that only those with faith can see.
And they will see much more. Ask Pastor Joan.”
The Bishop said lots more , don’t they always, but this is the heart of what he said.
Wrap UP
Coming this week the largest group of quivels found anywhere.I had a great morning. I had a nice talk with Pastor Steve. The Church service was great.The bell choir played. I love the bell choir. Great children's sermon. The main sermon pushed you to think about your life in christ. Then the fellowship afterward was just great. Spent all afternoon getting all that on the website. Then I visited all the blogs that commented here yesterday. The only thing wrong with the day is that the afternoon turned into a mini blizzard and all signs of Spring are gone. Now I need a breathing treatment.


Blogger Melli said...

Don't we all feel guilt over bearing our crosses? I had never really understood that phrase until recently ... but no matter how much we do, no matter how strong our faith, no matter how much we help and no matter how good we are, we are NEVER enough. There is no amount of "pay back" that we can give that is EVER going to pay back enough for what Christ did for us! I have your problem in reverse. I desperately WANT to be out in the "mission field" - you know - Guatemala, Venezuela, Haiti... some remote outpost where I would "feel" like I was doing something. But God says no. God says THIS is my mission field. To be a wife and a mother and an Aunt and a Nana... and a friend. And if HE thinks it's enough... then I probably should too. But I don't. I "feel" like I want a bigger cross... But... don't tell God I said that!

3:59 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

God directed you right to us and all those who have been in your Parish. You've touched all our lives and made us better for it.

6:59 AM  
Blogger Finding Pam said...

Very well said Melli. It would seem that sometimes we teeter between an attitude of self-agrandizment versus being one of a servent.

Being an adult child of an alcholic, I feel that I must do so much more in order to be worthy. Thankfully, I found out differently on my Emmaus faith walk.

There is nothing I can do to earn any of it except simply say yes, Lord here I am.

Pastor Joan gives us an insight in to her world as a pastor. I think she is doing a great job.

7:07 AM  
Blogger Nessa said...

I don't have a problem bearing the crosses part. I have a problem with the giving up part.

7:30 AM  
Blogger Cindy said...

I have noticed in the Gospels that when Jesus called the Disciples, it was to give up everything and to follow Him. Total surrender is not easy, but if we want the life Christ desires us to have in Him, it's necessary. It's also a day to day process for the rest of our lives.

10:54 AM  
Anonymous quilly said...

Pick up your cross and follow me -- I always thought that the burden God put on our hearts, that thing that pains us and we have to try to repair, was our cross. That is why I have always worked with underpriveledged children. I want to help them understand there is another way of life than the one they're currently living, and I want to help them see that way of live is available to them. I do that as a teacher through education, and at Sidewalk Sunday School I did it by sharing Jesus.

There seems to be no interest in Sidewalk Sunday School here. The church leaders seem to think it would draw volunteers away from vital ministries they are already engaged in. However, I am planning to seek a teaching job for next year. The children call to my heart.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Margaret said...

It may help to read this verse as "root up" vs. take up or bear (carry). In other words take down our personal crosses and not let them stand any longer. Not to carry them on our backs with us, including any cross of guilt. Jesus needs disciples to follow Him and help carry His cross and message of salvation to all in the world. In His words, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light."

If we're walking in Him provisions for our needs, wants and desires are often overflowing as we are blessed. The more who walk with Him and help carry the cross and word - the lighter the haul.

I guess it's a personal experience of mine for I had rooted everything up and left a place and my past behind. I went forward with nothing but faith. I had nothing to lose, only to gain at that point. It has indeed worked out wonderful!

1:06 PM  
Blogger Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

I try to followed where the Lord calls. Sometimes I just dont get it! Thanks goodness he still loves me. I have followed your advice and have been giving during Lent.
Dr J~ you are loved.

3:02 PM  
Blogger tsduff said...

I like to read your thoughts about faith. It is a subject which troubles me greatly these days - having once had a great faith built on the solid rock. Now it is built on the sand - if it is built at all. Actually it has mostly likely washed away.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Melli said...

Suppose I do need the job to feed my child but the dog is my dog and my kid loves it dearly now where is right?

I hate to say this... but if THAT were the case, the dog is going to drown, my kid is going to cry, but I will comfort her. She will still have a roof and food, and probably even all her inoculations -- and maybe even some shoes! And eventually a new dog. Or maybe a hamster... And she will have learned about losing someone important in your life... and that death is a part of living. But never ever ever could I let an animal keep me from providing for a human. That's my truth. I don't know if it's everyone's. I don't know if it's right. But it's mine.

8:10 PM  
Blogger Melli said...

Oh. And I don't need the answer to #20 to be "see Dr. John". Because I know that's going to happen! ;)

8:12 PM  
Blogger Carletta said...

If we live according to His teachings all the 'crosses' we pick up along the way we can more easily bear.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Cherie said...

I'm sorry that your blizzardy weather re-covered the grass, but the glimpse of it gives hope. The grass is still there, and you will see it again. :)

9:47 PM  
Blogger Peter (Worldman): said...

Nobody should feel guilty about what he has choosen to do. I am sure that, if you would have gone to work for GE, you would have been a good advisor to your work colleagues.

I had sometimes doubts too. But when I look at the last 10 years of being a humanitarian aid worker, then I am very happy. And I dare say, it wiped out the "stupid" things I did the 30 years before.

10:31 PM  
Blogger Margaret said...

Yes, even if you worked for GE - God would had still used you for His greater purpose.

We have a new Pastor, he's younger than me. (Gosh, I'm getting old huh?) In fact he's going through the whole ordination ritual at the moment.

He used to be a youth pastor years ago, but burnt out quickly and just went to work at Starbucks in the bustling downtown historic district of Savannah.

Not quite a bartender, but many bellied up to the coffee counter and shared their stories and woes. He soon realized - God was using him and the Starbucks to get the Word out.

Well, time to make 150 kids lunches for another field trip tomorrow. What a job that is huh? I've asked God, "how can you use me here?"

Funny, the thought came to me just then that these kids won't say Grace before eating these lunches. They are away from home, on a trip and away from parents.

They need prayer. So that's what I do while shuffling ham and cheese. :)

10:16 AM  
Blogger kcinnova said...

We had wonderful signs of spring over the weekend and into today, but now we should be getting a new "skiff" of snow on Friday night.

Our pastor preached on the same scripture. He noted that the cross wasn't at that time a symbol of Christianity but a symbol of fear, of terror, of a horrible death. He suggested that "take up your cross and follow" means to give up fear and to trust and to follow Jesus.

The handbells play next week. :)

9:58 PM  

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