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"If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." (Jesus in Mark 8:34)
 

 
 

 
 

Sermon Excerpt: Take Up Your Cross, Mark 8:31-38, Victoria Kempf

Philosopher, naturalist, theologian Annie Dillard writes of a childhood experience of finding a cocoon and putting it in a jar. She watched and waited as nature took its course and cocoon revealed chrysalis and then butterfly.

She vividly recalls the day she took the jar outside to release the beautiful butterfly within. She opened the jar and out it walked. But the jar had been too small. The butterfly's wings had not been able to expand enough in the jar. When let out, all it could do was walk down her driveway. Crippled. Unable to fly.

Peter's view of the Messiah was too small to include the larger reality of Jesus. Peter saw Jesus as a great messiah who would free Israel from the tyranny of Rome. He had no place in his understanding for a Messiah who must undergo great suffering, and be rejected, and be killed.

When Jesus tried to open Peter's mind to this concept of a messiah, Peter began to rebuke Jesus, to tell him off. To tell him "that's no way to be a messiah." How do you expect to get anywhere like that? You'll never get followers that way. A dead messiah. Sure.

Jesus told Peter that he was looking at things with too-human eyes, and not with the eyes of the divine. He was limiting his reality, his jar was too small, to include a God who would allow such suffering of a chosen messiah.

Then Jesus went on to insist that his followers give up all such human thinking, such limiting of the possibilities of God, to embrace their crosses, if you will, and to give up a life which holds on to small thinking... Subscribers: Click here for all resources for Lent 2

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