Jason White is a former Fowler summer chaplain and volunteer. He currently works at Lynnwood Reformed Church in Schenectady, New York, and is enrolled at Western Seminary under the care of the Schenectady classis.
Mark 8:31-38 (CEB)
“All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross, and follow me.”
We know the stories: the sea became calm, the demons lost their power, five loaves and two fish fed thousands, the waves became a walkway, sight and hearing were restored, little children were blessed, and we were taught how to pray. He died…so that we might have life!
Powerful stories move us, not only down the path, but emotionally and spiritually as well. Jesus not only tells great stories, but is a great story himself, a tale that we are invited to be a part of. Have you ever gone to the symphony? You might first hear a bassoon warming up, giving a hint of what unique melodies are just around the corner. Slowly other players gather and there is a swell of sound that isn’t quite music, yet artistry abounds. A tuning note is played and everyone joins in…pure unity, communion. The conductor strides to the center and cues this musical body—and we’re swept away into the composer’s story, swept away from being inside our own minds, swept away from our individual stories and into a greater collective.
Here in Mark 8, Jesus invites us to be part of the story—a story of communion and a story of unity. We are summoned to take up our crosses, take up our instruments. Even if the part we have to play is a difficult one, we are invited to work within this body of Christ, to be part of the adventure. In the center is our conductor, Jesus Christ, who says, “Follow me, let me lead the way…I am the way.” The foundation of the journey comes from our composer, God, whose grace and shalom flows within the pages of our lives. Abba, who breathed the Holy Spirit into us at the beginning, gives us life to continue unfolding the story.
It is here, in this space of unity, grace, and communion, where we can heed Christ’s appeal to say no to our own stories, and move into the reality of this heavenly drama.
Prayer: Lord, whatever it may be, help us to take up our cross, and follow you. Amen.
For this year’s Lent devotions, the days follow the Common Lectionary texts. Each author was invited to: 1.Read the passage.
2.Read a couple passages before and after the assigned day.
3.Do something else for the day, keeping the passage in mind.
4.Find a word/phrase/concept that connects with your own experience. Reflect on that.
You are encouraged to do the same.