I know a man who has a severe back injury and lives with constant pain. He has seen the best doctors he can find. He has gone to a major medical center. He has taken thousands of dollars worth of treatments, but he has found no relief. He has also visited a chiropractor. He has tried acupuncture. The last I knew, he was planning to go to a faith healer.
I can't blame him. It must be awful to suffer constantly -- and to have little hope of healing. There are millions like him, people who have an ailment or an agony or an anxiety and are unable to find a cure for it.
UPCOMING WEEKS In addition to the lectionary resources there are thousands of non-lectionary, scripture based resources...
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.