Lent: Second Sunday (Mark 8:31-38)

“The church that rightly lifts high the cross of Christ all too often neglects the narrative of faith articulated in Jesus’ teaching here:  that discipleship involves giving up our own lives through sacrificial love, leading to the surprising and ultimately saving discovery that in giving we have received.  We know this, of course.  We preach it on occasion, and sometimes even live it out, too.  Frequently the final words of worship – our benedictions to the congregation – are exhortations to go forth to love and serve God.  But the absence of permanent symbols of Jesus’ call to take up our own crosses, to be his disciples by taking full responsibility for going ourselves on the sacrificial journey that Jesus pioneered, perhaps helps to explain why churches become preoccupied with membership and not with discipleship.  Perhaps what we need is a multitude of crosses, one for each of us, at the back door of our sanctuaries, to be taken up as we return to the world of home and family, work and commerce, service and play – symbols of the call to discipleship that we have heard and accept anew.”

– Paul C. Shupe; Daily Feast, Year B

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