getting out the WORD - the 13th sunday after pentecost PDF Print E-mail

the PRAYER...
O God, we thank you for your Son, who chose the path of suffering for the sake of the world. Humble us by his example, point us to the path of obedience, and give us strength to follow your commands, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

the READING...
Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me."

Matthew 16:21-28

The last song, Sunday morning, has stayed with me, this week. "Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus." We've sung it before. But for some reason, this time's been different. As hymns go, it's, pretty much, what you'd expect. Walking with Jesus! Suffering with Jesus! Dying and rising with the Savior! But by the time we finished singing, I'm not sure I agreed with the message.

You see, in the hymn, carrying the cross is nothing more than a temporary inconvenience. Something we do, simply, to win the prize. Deny ourselves! Take up our cross! Lose our life! And when everything is done and said, we pass on to heaven leaving the cross behind us.

But what if the cross is intended to be something more? What if it's meant to be the end in and of itself? What if suffering for others is enough? What if the sacrifice we make to set others free is more than enough! What if being able to carry the cross IS the prize! Dying so that someone else lives? What if the cross - that is, loving just like Jesus - IS the reward itself?

Bob Barndt, pastor

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