Jason was spending his first night outside of the city. He accompanied his friend, Francis, to their cabin in northern Minnesota. The boys would sleep in the tent behind the cabin. At first everything was fine; the porch light was on which provided light through the thin nylon tent. But when Francis' parents went to bed, they turned off the light. For the first time in his life, Jason experienced total darkness, and he didn't like it one bit. He nudged Francis. "It's dark."
"Yes, I know," was Francis' reply as he rolled over to go back to sleep.
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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.