Christ came into the world to forgive sin. This passage of scripture spoke to the heart of Augustine. While walking in the garden his heart was discouraged. His life at that moment was anything but saintly, and he desperately needed a new beginning. Feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit in his heart, he kept asking: "How long should I be in this horrible state of life?" He said that in that moment he heard a voice saying, "Take and read." He scurried back to where he had been reading Paul's letter to the Romans with his friend Alypius and began reading Romans 13:11-14.
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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.