Ladies and Gentlemen, it's been a while since we've had a Lectionary Reflection up and published on the site. But, seeing as Lent is the season of discipline, I figured that now was as good of a time as ever to get back into the practice of posting my weekly initial musings on the Lectionary.
Remember, this may contain initial thoughts, ponderings, rabbit trails to chase down, historical/social/political notes, any or none of the above...and these may or may not be reflective of what actually shows up in my sermon on Sunday morning!
Alright, so here we go!
The first reading for this week is Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 --
God's promise to the elderly Abram and Sarai that they will no longer be childless but that God will make a great nation out of them speaks to the hope for a future for God's people. Here, God is promising this couple that they will not be forgotten when they die, but that they will have a legacy that will carry on throughout eternity.
And who of us doesn't want this? There is a great fear in our world and in our culture about being forgotten, about being left behind, about being rendered irrelevant and unimportant. Here, God promises two people that this will not be the case for them, and that God's promises to them will echo throughout their lineage.
The second reading this week is Mark 8:31-38 --
We have to remember that, at this time, there were people who were looking for just about any reason to finally "take down" Jesus, and Peter's admonishment to Jesus indicates that Jesus' words about the temple being torn down could have been seen as a heresy worthy of death.
Jesus, as we now know, was talking not about the Temple but about himself (using a metaphor to talk about his own death and resurrection). He also seems to care very little at this point about what people made of his statements. In fact, in this passage we have Jesus rebuking his friend Peter simply for making an attempt to keep him from being arrested and executed.
He cares more about getting people to recognize that it is important to stand up for what is good, right, and true...even if that means that they do so at risk to themselves.
And isn't that something that we are called to? To stand up for truth and righteousness, even in the face of death? Aren't we called to stand against systems of oppression and injustice? Aren't we called to take up our own cross, if necessary, in order to follow Jesus where he leads?
Now, at this point in the week, there seems to be a little bit of a disconnect between the two readings, as I am having a hard time reconciling God's promise to make a nation out of Abram and Sarai, God's promise to preserve their lives through the creation of a generational line and Jesus' directive to be willing to take up your cross and lose your life in order to follow him. They are both messages that, at their core, are filled with hope, but they seem to be taking us in two different directions as to what this hope looks like/means.
For now, I am leaning towards focusing on the commandment to take up your cross...and what that looks like for us today.
Stay tuned to see where and how we go with this!