Jesus called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." And he said to them, "Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power." Mark 8:34 - 9:1
I had the opportunity to visit York Harbor Maine for a meeting. After the meeting concluded, my husband and I drove up to see the lighthouse, listen to the ocean and smell the salt air. My home for so long has a lighthouse and the sights and sounds were comforting and familiar. There was also rain on the way. As we watched, the lightening would illuminate the lighthouse, set on its own island, and would make the sea shine like day, for a second only. Clarity and detail came in these brief flashes of storming light.
Jesus reminds the disciples of the cost of following him. This life is not to be an easy way, but rather a way of life and joy, challenged and painful at many turns. It was not a life of ease and luxury. The taste of death will always be near, and the human fears will not be far off. And God's presence will always be with them. God's presence is always with us. This was a flash of clarity for the disciples, a moment where some understood that miracles and misery would go hand and hand. We are not to see the painful challenges of our present as the measure of our worth in God's eyes.
Today, I ask God to help me rejoice in every bit of this day - good and bad alike. May we see clarity in God's call to us, understanding that abundance and challenge are part of the cross we bear. May we be carriers of God's love to this world, trusting that we are never alone as we walk for love.