Faith Daily | 18 February 2021
PRAYER of the WEEK Ash Wednesday Prayer of the Season
Almighty and everlasting God,
you hate nothing that you have made,
and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent:
create and make in us new and contrite hearts,
that we, worthily lamenting our sins,
and acknowledging our wretchedness,
may obtain of you, the God of all mercy,
perfect remission and forgiveness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen APBA p481
GOSPEL for the Day: Luke 9: 21-25
21 He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone, 22saying, ‘The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.’
23 Then he said to them all, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. 25What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Graeme Curnow
How easy it is to be wise in hindsight.
These terse verses have Jesus giving to his disciples, the bare minimum of information when foreshadowing his own death and resurrection. Did these poor folk understand what Jesus meant by being ”raised”? Later on we learn of their astonishment that Jesus returned to life after suffering the cruel death by crucifixion, so perhaps not.
Then in the following verses Jesus encourages them to “take up their cross, daily” and follow him. Was it usual for those sentenced to death by crucifixion to have to carry their cross to the place of their execution? Was the phrase “Take up your cross” common idiom of the time? Was Jesus here giving a hint to his followers as to how he would meet his death?
Or, was Jesus using this to emphasise that when we follow the way of his teaching we will need to apply self-denial and steadfastness in the face of opposition (even persecution)? Jesus taught that the rewards in Heaven will far outweigh anything we might win or achieve in this world?
The Transfiguration of Jesus, when a few disciples eye-witness a foretaste of Glory, took place after this episode. How reassuring for us Christians that it did..
FINAL PRAYER: Rev'd Sandra
Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made us one with your saints in heaven and on earth: help us to see your presence burning in the hearts of others; grant that we may be united in a fellowship of love and prayer; give us the courage to pick up our cross and follow you. Grant us the stamina to be your hands and heart in the world; and enable us to witness to your grace and mercy through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.