Sermons And Children's Lessons For Advent, Christmas And Epiphany
A couple of years ago, a theological journal that is published in Hong Kong had a beautiful pen and ink Christmas drawing on its front cover and a second Christmas painting on the inside of the rear cover. Both of them were of Mary and the baby Jesus. Both of them depicted Mary as a queen. On the front cover, she is dressed in regal robes, has a large halo around her head; she is standing barefoot upon a cloud, holding the infant Jesus, who has a halo around his head. On one side of her is the corner of a sumptuous palace, several angels lean from its balcony.
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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.