Gospel Thoughts, 16 September 2012

September 13, 2012 at 13:28 Leave a comment


In today’s Gospel Story (Mark 8:27-35) Jesus asks his disciples who people say he is, and they respond with the labels and terms of the established religion: Elijah, prophet, etc. When they ask him who they themselves think he is, they answer very differently: “You are the Christ”. Their time with him had shown them much more than they had learned from others or from the system.

The same is true for us. When we make the effort to spend time with Jesus in payer, the Jesus we come to know might be quite different from the Jesus presented to us by others. We find ourselves going beyond the labels and definitions others have told us, and moving to what they mean for us here and now in present situations and relationships. No one – no parents, no teachers, no church – can make this journey for us. It is something we have to do ourselves. Others can make suggestions, but our journey is only ours to make or not make. Granted, it is easier and safer to stick with what we have learned from others, but making our own journey is much more exciting and adventuresome. If we choose to do it, we are in for quite a ride.

From time to time we might think of how we used to relate to God. We might even want to go back there. However, our relations to God cannot ever be again what it once was, simply because we can never go back to being as we once were. We are always changing just because our life is changing and we are growing. Our past relationship with God most likely is based on an idea we received from someone else. We have to look for God in the circumstances of our life now, not then. The odds are that the God we come to know now will be quite different from the God we remember in our past. This is something we have to  find out for ourselves. We continue to encounter God always new, always surprising.

In the Story Jesus says, “whoever wishes to come after me must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow me”.  Denying ourselves is a necessary part of the journey, as we learn we do not have to fabricate an image to present to Jesus, that he loves us as we are, not as we wish we were or think we ought to be. We are who we are, and all the false self stuff has to go. This is no easy process, but it is necessary and worth while. When we have the right ideas and labels, there is a certain sense of security of knowing. We we journey with Jesus to encounter God there is not always security of knowing. If we knew, there would be no need for faith or believing. There is always the uncertainty of wonder and growing. Jesus shows us God is not static, but excitingly dynamic.

Also, the cross seems to come into play when we have the temerity to think for ourselves. When we do, we just might become the target of folks who are annoyed because we are not thinking as they think we should. In some religious systems original thought is discouraged, perhaps even punished. The religious police are alive and well. So, we have to sort out our priorities. This might be what Jesus had in mind when he said,”whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel’s will save it”.

Just saying  .   .   .

More on this at       www.phrogge.com

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