Friday, February 10, 2017

February 10, 2017


Mark 8:34-35

When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it.

Personal Challenge

In the Eastern Orthodox church, we have just started our journey into the lenten season. Our liturgies have started to focus more on the upcoming darkness of the death of our Lord on the vicious Roman cross. We have been here year after year, and yet we begin this journey knowing that this will be a time of personal sacrifice and the taking up of the cross for our Lord. I am sure that when the disciples first heard Jesus make this statement they were a little confused, The image of the cross for them was not an image of joy or peace or glory. In their day the Romans put many people to death on the cross. Jesus had not yet given up His life to the crowds, later to be beaten and crucified on the cross, later to arise from the grave victorious over death. So for them, I am sure they were wondering what cross Jesus was referring to. But we know! And we know that Jesus is telling us to lay aside everything that we hold dearly in this world and take up His cross, His passion, His expectations, and follow Him on the journey that He has planned for us. He is telling us that if we want to be like Him then we must die to this world and the things of this world. Only through that death can we begin to receive His life. And so, we enter into Lent, following in His footsteps, step by step shedding the things of the world so that we can enter into the brightness and joy of Pascha (Easter) unencumbered by the things and burdens of this world. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the Sinner!

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