It was a calm and lazy summer evening, almost dark. As the sun set, casting a reddish-golden haze to the air and a glowing reflection upon the water, a grandfather and his small grandson sat on the edge of the fishing pier watching nature's glory, not really caring whether they caught any fish or not. There was an understanding silence between the two, bridging the gap of the years, binding them together with a bond beyond understanding. The wisdom of wrinkles and years, the questioning naiveté of innocence, there was an awareness of one another that required no words and it was good.
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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.