Weekly Reflection - 04 March 2012

Mark 8.31-38; NLT: Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead. As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things.

Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. “Get away from me, Satan!” he said.“You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

"You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s." There it is again - two different ways of seeing. What did Jesus mean by it? It seems to me that Peter's reprimand may have been about Jesus should be saving his life by not going to Jerusalem, about Jesus not putting himself in harm's way. There also may have been some talk about him fighting for Jesus tooth and nail. Perhaps Peter even talked about this as a the starting point of a revolt - of bringing the fight to those who opposed Jesus. Kind of a preemptive strike helping to usher in God's Kingdom (a kingdom that would look a lot like the Roman kingdom but with the "right" people in key positions). The others may have been in agreement (thus Jesus looking at the rest of the disciples. I can picture them nodding their heads in approval and saying similar things). And, then, maybe Jesus' statement was not really directed at Peter, but toward anyone with the same way of seeing.

So what would be God's thoughts? Jesus tells us in the following verses. The summary of which, at least for me, could be a life of selflessness and serving others to the detriment of one's own life for the sake of someone else's life. But the context is a little sharper still. It's not like Jesus is saying that heroes would "save their lives." No. It seem that anyone who give up her life for the Good News will actually be saving her life. And what is the Good News? As we saw in Mark 1, it's the message that God's promised Reign has begun and we should be about helping put things right, not in the distant future, but right now. It's that type of talk and action that puts one in dangerous situations.

If one is to be a follower of the Way of Jesus, then one must be about speaking truth to power, whether that power is political or religious. And not only with our talking and ways of thinking, but also (and probably more so) in our actions. Are we living lives that are promoting the Realm of God? Are our current actions pointing to a future time when all people, regardless of gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation, are equal? Are our current purchasing habits pointing to a time when all people will be paid equally and honestly for their labor? Where their working conditions are affirming and not demeaning? Are we currently living simple lives where our consuming and disposing point to the understanding that taking care of the earth is the responsibility of everyone? These are things that can help now. By acting in these ways, we can help point others to the truth of God's Realm and the future consummation of God's dream, not just for people, but for the entire cosmos.

In the Love of the Three in One,

Br Jack+, LC


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