First Lesson Sermons For Advent/Christmas/Epiphany
We must be careful about saying where God can be found in this world because it seems, both in the Bible and in many people's experience, that God is found in situations and places where people would never expect to find anything holy. God can be found in the most ungodly of places. Jesus is a wonderful example of this. Have you ever noticed in the Gospels that he is found most often where others would never dare to tread? Jesus speaks to the woman at the well. She was a person who was not to be talked to. A foreigner. A loose woman. He speaks to a man with a terrible reputation.
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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.