Faith Daily | 17 February 2023
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p537
Let your merciful ears, O Lord,
be open to the prayers of your humble servants;
and that they may obtain their petitions
make them to ask such thins as shall please you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 8:34- 9:1
34 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. 35For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’
91And he said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.’
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Rev’d Jan
I can remember vividly a time in a classroom, in an Anglican school, and it must have been Religion – and it became apparent that I knew the Creed, and other things of the Anglican liturgy. And I was treated with humour and some disdain – even all those years ago! and in a church school….. it was probably the closest I have come to knowing the truth of ‘persecution’ (very mild, I know). This also included a later experience, once ordained, of a male Anglican priest refusing to take the chalice from me….
I can remember, more vividly, the cost of vocation to Holy Orders and the confusion and feeling of betrayal of my friends and, to be honest, family. I had chosen (as if it was me!) a way of life that took me away from them, into a world that was so different it was alien. That was, and continues to be, a high cost.
But compared to what? A way of life not true to Christ? For all of us, there is absolutely no kudos in the year 2023 to be a practising Christian. And I say “practising” very deliberately. Because I hear so often…. “oh yes, I have faith, but you don’t need to belong to the church to be a Christian”.
Well, I’m sorry, yes we do. Jesus has created the Church as his Body here – it is his living communtiy – and yes it is flawed, dysfunctional even, but it is all he has. And Jesus knows – we need each other. We need our Christian community for courage and encouragement to keep being faithful; to share life through the truth and lens of scripture; to practise in ‘real time’ what Jesus teaches – hospitality, forgiveness, generosity with worldly goods, prayer and advocacy for the needs of the world, friendship, kindness – and love.
How could we ever be ashamed of living that way?
FINAL PRAYER Hymn : John Ernest Bode (1816-74)
O Jesus, I have promised
to serve you to the end;
Lord, be for ever near me,
my master and my friend:
I shall not fear the battle
if you are by my side,
nor wander from the pathway
if you will be my guide.