“to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and to be put to death”
Wednesday, 15 September 2021
“Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)
We are the Body of Christ, called to imitate our Redeemer – right to the end, in the deepest joys of life and in the most demanding pain. It is not always comfortable to be a disciple. Discipleship is about following Jesus; it is about what God is doing in us; it is about God’s plan. Suffering is part of life (no need to look for any unnecessary suffering!). What is important is how we respond to it.
We can turn pain and suffering into something constructive. Jesus died not in bitterness but love.
Christ’s cross is a sign of Christ’s redemptive suffering, an assurance of God’s love for all Creation. In Col.1:24, Paul writes, “It makes me happy to be suffering for you now, and in my own body to make up all the hardships that still have to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body, the church.” We share in Jesus’ mission.
Oscar Wilde, following imprisonment for a charge against morals, changed his life around. After his release, he wrote, “Where sorrow is, there is holy ground” and “How else but through the broken heart may the Lord Christ enter in?” When have I found holy ground in sorrow? Have I found Christ to enter into my heart in times of a broken heart?
Jesus chose to answer the violence of the cross with non-violence, to absorb it and to forgive, to express God’s love and to bring salvation. With the gifts with which God has infused me, will I acknowledge my cross, pick it up and bear it?
Looking up at Jesus suffering on the cross, will I recognise that Jesus carries my pain with me? Do I find it helpful to offer up my suffering to God as Paul did?
“.. for anyone who loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.” (Mark 8:35)