Thursday, March 15, 2018

Take Up Your Cross

Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him. Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
He 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 8:27 – 9:1

Yesterday I was honored to spend time with the Presiding Bishop's delegation to the United Nations Committee on the Status of Women.  They are amazing and inspiring women who have taken time out of their busy lives to follow Christ by carrying the needs and concern of women around our globe. They are fierce and loving, carrying their message and commitment with great joy. Yesterday, we also witnessed children around the country risking expulsion to carry their message. On the one month anniversary of the shooting in Parkland, children are risking all so all children might be safe.

In our gospel today we hear Peter pronouncing Jesus as Lord and then rebuking him for scaring the followers. Jesus reminds them that they have a cross to carry as they follow him. They cannot follow Jesus without denying themselves. We too, are invited in the depths of Lent, to deny ourselves and take up the cross we need to bear. Each of us has a cross to bear and we are invited to carry it with joy as we follow Christ. For we know that our burdens are made light as we offer ourselves to God for the sake of the world.

Today, I ask God to help me be brave and strong like these delegates and the students across the country. May we live our lives, willingly carrying our crosses, so that the world might know that God is love.

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