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Faith Daily |6 August 2021

PRAYER of the DAY - PENTECOST APBA p568


Almighty God,

whose beloved Son for our sake

willingly endured the agony and shame of the cross:

give us courage and patience

to take up our cross daily and follow him;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Amen.



GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 16: 24-28



24 Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?


27 ‘For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. 28Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.’


GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: : Rev’d Jan


The ‘sandwich context’ is important here. This particular passage, in Matthew’s Gospel, sits between the revelationery statement of Peter proclaiming “You are the Messiah” when Jesus says – “but who do you say that I am?”…. with the next event being the Transfiguration of Jesus, the extraordinary divine revelation of who Jesus is, God’s Son, the Beloved. The actual context foreshadows his death by the cross; but most importantly the reality of suffering with Jesus as a choice, not a consequence, of following him.


What does this look like for us, Christians, Jesus followers? I cannot say it better than Franciscan Friar, and priest, Richard Rohr:


But it is not an enviable position, this Christian thing. Following Jesus is a vocation to share the fate of God for the life of the world. To allow what God for some reason allows—and uses. And to suffer ever so slightly what God suffers eternally.


This has little to do with believing the right things about God—beyond the fact that God is love. Those who agree to carry and love what God loves, both the good and the bad, and to pay the price for its reconciliation within themselves—these are the followers of Jesus Christ. They are the leaven, the salt, the remnant, the mustard seed that God uses to transform the world. The cross, then, is a very dramatic image of what it takes to be usable for God. It does not mean you are going to heaven and others are not; rather, it means you have already entered heaven and thus can see things in a transcendent, whole, and healing way now.


FINAL PRAYER: Rev'd Jan


And so. The cross.

Is not a symbol of pain –

rather a reality of freedom.

Is not a symbol of death –

rather a reality of life. Eternal.

Is not a symbol of degradation –

rather a love gift at the highest level.

Is not a once-only event in history –

rather a way, the truth, in how to live life.

Is not a symbol at all –

rather an explosion of joy, of hope,

of love beyond understanding.


Because –

it is empty.


Amen.

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