Scripture: Mark 8:34-9:1
Key verses: (34-35) 34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel,* will save it.
Reflection: I love making plans! At any given point I can be planning four or five different events, activities, dinners or adventures. At this point, I am working on youth mission trips to Cuba at Christmas and summer trips to Chicago and El Salvador. We leave the comfort of our homes and join in the amazing work God is doing in the world with the body of Christ that often are very different from us. The lives of these youth are transformed by Christ in ways that can never be planned, no matter how hard I try.
That is not the frustrating part of planning, because I trust the Holy Spirit to move in and among the lives of young people. It often has nothing to do with anything I have done. What frustrates me, is when someone says, “I will go”, but nothing comes of it. Jesus has already invited people to follow. I wonder if the crowds cheered with affirmation and stepped forward but never really followed. It is often what we do. We say we will follow Jesus but we go nowhere besides church on Sunday.
Jesus goes beyond, “follow me” and invites his followers to deny themselves and take up their cross. This is not a denial of a certain food, or social media or material possessions. Denying oneself and following Jesus invites something greater. Jesus invites us to bridge the gap between what we believe and what we actually do. As followers of Jesus, let us make each step one of love, justice and peace.
Prayer: I know it is not all about me, God. Continue to remind me to put you first as I step out in faith and follow your son. In his name I pray. Amen.
Author: Michelle Thomas-Bush
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].