Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”
I am still reeling some days from the effects of moving. Boxes are almost all here but the differences in climate and culture are challenging to me. Challenging also is
distance from my family - from my mother, my siblings and my children. Sometimes it's a physical ache, surprisingly, and other times it hits me when after supper I think to call someone and realize they are in bed already. It is a small cross to bear for serving among wonderful people in this place. Each of us who chose to follow God and minister to people are sometimes called far from our comfort zone and away from the familiarity of what we know as home.
The disciples are trying to understand what their ministry is and their place in it. Jesus asks them in turn who the people think Jesus is, and who they understand him to be. When Peter replies,“the Christ of God,” Jesus cautions silence and then tells them to take up their cross daily. Their will be burdens to carry for their ministry and blessings also. If they are willing to deny themselves and bear the burdens of servant-hood, then they will be lifted from their suffering to see and know the reign of God face to face. That promise is made to us also, if we are willing to offer our lives in the service of God and in caring for the people.
Today, I ask God for the strength to carry the burdens and rejoice in the work and relationships I have been given. Help me to see the challenges as the in-breaking of God's kingdom among us. May we deny ourselves, letting go of control and offering ourselves daily to God's transforming love. May we see no work as beneath us but may we rejoice in the opportunity to be bound to the source of light and life.