On a blustery October night in a church outside Minneapolis, several hundred believers
had gathered for a three-day seminar. I began with a one-hour presentation on the gospel
of grace and the reality of salvation. Using scripture, story, symbolism, and personal
experience, I focused on the total sufficiency of the redeeming work of Jesus Christ on
Calvary. The service ended with a song and a prayer. Leaving the church by a side door,
the pastor turned to his associate and fumed.
"Humph, that airhead didn't say one thing about what we have to do to earn our
UPCOMING WEEKS In addition to the lectionary resources there are thousands of non-lectionary, scripture based resources...
Oscar Wilde penned a powerful story about behaviors and definitions and justice called The Picture of Dorian Gray. Dorian was a handsome young man, a model of physical beauty and moral virtue. People complimented him on his good graces. Parents pointed to him as an example to their youth. One artist even painted an exquisite portrait of him.
"Have you seen it?" whispered the Barbie doll to her next door neighbour.
The next Barbie doll in line was instantly alert. There were five different Barbie dolls, who lived jumbled together in the toy cupboard but who were so jealous of each other that they rarely spoke. "Seen what?" asked the second Barbie doll, blue eyes darting all round the room.
"The Princess," replied the first Barbie with glee. "Caitlin's done her hair and it looks terrible!"
These verses from Mark's gospel are a call to commitment, a call to sacrifice, and a call to give up everything of earthly value in life. To say these are difficult verses is truly an understatement. It is pretty clear that the disciples are not at all ready for what Jesus is saying. They are not ready for Jesus to die and they certainly are not ready to die themselves.