In this week's lectionary epistle passage, the author of Hebrews takes us on a mini-tour of the Old Testament faithful's "hall of fame," and points out that because we can draw strength from being "surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses" in addition to the example of Jesus ("the pioneer and perfecter of our faith") it is our duty to "lay aside every weight and sin" and "run with perseverance the race that is set before us." The use of the "witness" image is striking -- not only does it convey the testimony of the travails experienced by our forebears in the faith, but it also (analogous t
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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.