September 12

Mark 8:34-38

“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.’” vs. 34

These familiar words have a quaint feel about them. Once they seemed so important, a description of a call to discipleship that could define the journey of our lives. But now there’s a kind of sad irrelevance about them. They’re a reminder of times past when people actually did look beyond themselves and lived their lives in the shadow of the cross. But now times are different. The forces of the world have had decades to bombard our minds with messages of self-indulgence and consumption. Everywhere we look we see the beautiful people of society beckoning us to activate new credit limits and follow them into experiences of unbelievable joy and pleasure. Even churches have changed their messages and some now offer a new Jesus, one created especially for our times, and his new way leads not to the cross but to happiness and prosperity. But thoughtful folks wonder! They know suffering still touches every human heart, and times are not as wonderful as marketers would have us believe. They see the effects of shallow and profligate living all around, and know that joy can never come from self-indulgence. They know that Jesus wasn’t kidding when he said, “What does it profit a person to gain the whole world and lose their life?” For them the cross will never be obsolete!

Thought for the Day: What is the way of the cross?

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