This summer, our congregation has been reading the Gospel of Mark together. Our worship services, Sunday morning Bible discussion, Facebook Live (on Wednesday evenings) and daily devotions have facilitated a rich conversation and deep reflection on the life and ministry of Jesus. Up to this point, the Gospel has focused on the excitement and expansion of Jesus’ ministry and the kingdom of God. But now, Jesus invites us to follow him on the Way of the Cross. Not only is he preparing us for the events of Holy Week (which will take place from chapter 11-16), but also our experience of life under the cross.
As I reflecting on this text, one thing stuck out to me: Jesus calls us to “deny ourselves, take up the cross, and follow [him].” But most often, you don’t have to go looking for the cross. You don’t have to pick it up, but instead it is placed upon your back but whatever it is life and the devil will throw your way. It was Saint Peter, the main character of yesterday’s reading, who wrote: “Do no be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:12-13). As you endure cancer treatments and other illnesses, difficult family situations and preparing for empty nests, and all sorts of other trials and suffering, know that you follow Christ through pain and death, bearing the cross so that you will receive joy and everlasting life with him!
On the Way of the Cross with Christ and with you –
To prepare for worship on Sunday
(July 22), you are invited to read: