"Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me."" (Mark 8:34)
There are a lot of things to follow - aren't there? We can, especially during the winter, be following the weather. (I, personally, don't pay as much attention to the weather person as I do to the radar.) We can be following a particular sports team. We can "follow" the posts on Facebook and other websites. There is a lot we can be following!
The Gospel reading, this morning, is Jesus talking to the Disciples and to the crowd. He has been explaining about what is going to be happening when he gets to Jerusalem. Peter questions (rebuke v. 32) and Jesus "rebuked Peter" (v. 33) but then Jesus points out to them it is NOT going to be easy to be a follower of Jesus. (v.34) He is still telling us that today! We must each, still, take up our cross to follow Christ. The question is do we believe it? Do we believe in/for Jesus? Jesus tells us, in John 14, "you believe in God believe also in me." (John 14:1)
Our foundation is Scripture so who are we following? Do we REALLY believe? Can we follow where Jesus is leading?
"At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan." (Mark 1:9)
What do you think of if I say "foundation"? The 'start' of something? For me, and those who do needlework, it is the start or base of the project. For builders it is the base of the build -- usually out of cement. For those in finance it can be the "source" of the money. "Foundation," for most of us is more than the start/base of something -- it is also the strength of said project, build or financial project.
Our Gospel reading, this morning is Jesus being baptized, by John (v. 9) and then "the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days," (v. 12-13a). This is both the 'foundation' of our Christian faith (baptism) and the start of Lent (40 days). It is also a part of Scripture the main foundation of both -- our faith, the reason for baptism AND the reason for Lent. The question is do we believe it? Are we standing on this "solid foundation"? Or is this something we think about on Sundays, while we are in the church building, tell people we believe it, but don't think about the rest of the week?
The interesting part about Scripture is all the different translations we can have of it. At the moment I have five different translations sitting next to me on the desk. The thing to remember, however, is the wording is a little different but the meaning remains the same. God IS our salvation, our strength, our foundation. No matter what is happening around us we can celebrate Emmanuel -- God WITH us -- the strength of our foundation.
Mountain top? Listening?
"Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud:"This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!"" (Mark 9:7)
"Mountain top" is used to describe wonderful, enlightening experiences. It doesn't, necessarily, mean you have (or are at) been on a "mountain." My most recent "mountain top" experience was learning about scuba diving -- definitely NOT at the top of a mountain! I was "only" about 20' down but the seeing God's awesome creation UNDER the water is such a wonderful experience I can only refer to it as "mountain top." What about you? Have you had such a wonderful, enlightening experience -- at (or below) ground level?
Jesus has taken 3 Disciples "up the mountain" with him. Peter, James and John have seen Jesus "transfigured before them." (v. 2) They see Jesus talking to Elijah and Moses. They don't know what to say because they "were so frightened." (v. 6) They are trying to figure out what is happening when the cloud "covered" them and a voice says "LISTEN TO HIM!" (v. 9 emphasis mine) Then Jesus tells them, on the way down the mountain not to tell anyone "until the Son of Man had risen from the dead." (v. 9) Not talking about what they had seen, and heard (even Peter's question about building "shelters"!), had to have been hard. Think about how excited we get when we have had our "mountain top" experiences!
So..... are you listening for what God is trying to say to you? Are you sharing, the Son of Man IS "risen from the dead" (v. 9), now -- we CAN share! -- the where and how you have felt God with you? Something to think about as we start into the Lenten season........
"But those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)
Last week we spoke about remote controls this week I want you to think about recharging said remotes. Have you ever encountered the problem of too many things needing to be "re" charged at the same time? As I have traveled, usually with family or a friend, I have. I have encountered one, or if we are very lucky two, wall plugs but we have at least 2 cell phones, one I-pad, 1 kindle, and a laptop all needing to be charged. If there are three (or more) of us needing to "re" charge it can be even more difficult!
Our Gospel reading, in Mark 1, is about Jesus having a very busy day - teaching, healing, casting out demons and having the "whole town gather." (Mark 1:33) This morning the reading is about Jesus getting up "while it was still dark" (v. 35) to go to a "solitary place where he prayed." (v. 35) Jesus frequently took time to s-t-o-p and be with God -- talk to and listen for God. He definitely was following my friend Isaiah -"those who wait for the LORD" and Jesus knew God would "renew their strength." (40:31)
The question is...... do WE know when we need to s-t-o-p and re-charge? Do we know to go to God to "renew our strength"? Can we at least think about it?!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.