“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
This is tricky—an invitation spoiling for misuse. Slippery ground. An abusive relationship, a medical affliction, racial and economic inequity, unnecessary suffering of any kind. Could any of these ever be described as a cross a disciple, or anyone, should bear? We pray not. The scriptures insist not.
Suffering due to abuse of power is never redemptive and is antithetical to the character of God. Indeed, to bear one’s cross is first about the elimination of suffering by following the trail Jesus blazed. We resist evil as he did, rather than accept it. We join in solidarity with the crucified; even when it unsettles and inflames the status quo.
This is, simply, the way to life from the one who calls all creation beloved. The Lenten way: new life comes through the denial of our worst selves. In his very next breath Jesus says, “For 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.”
What are we to make of this in this season of pandemic and the unavoidable truth that suffering, and denial seems to be borne by some far more than others? What are we to make of this call for the healing not only of this heartbroken and luminous world, but for our own selves? Are these not one and the same question?
Enter into worship.
You can watch all of this Sunday's worship service in a series of linked videos, one after the other, by clicking this link. Just press the button that says "PLAY ALL" and lean in to worship. You can also just click on the graphic to the left.
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You'll find here links to weekly worship and, where applicable archived service videos.