Marilyn came slowly down the long stairs of her sister Margaret's big brick house in the suburbs of Memphis. She could see the rest of the dinner party already gathering at Margaret's well-appointed dining room table. There were several steaming platters of soul food: roast beef, collard greens, chitterlings, black-eyed peas, cornbread and crisp fried chicken. Ralph was there with Jesse and Andrew and several others less well-known, but very active in the movement. And there was Martin, sitting at the head of the table. What an honor it was to have him in their home again.
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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.