How practical should we be? Should we weigh how much a decision costs us in money, time, effort? Jesus say, “Yes.” In fact, Jesus suggests that one cannot commit to a life of service in Christ’s name UNLESS one “does the math”. It’s pretty easy to say “I’m a Christian” or “I follow Jesus”. It’s pretty hard to BE a Christian, to adopt all that Jesus asks of us.
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. . . he [Jesus] turned and said to them [the crowd], “. . . Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? . . . So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.”
From sermon4kids.com: “A lot of people today say that they want to follow Jesus. They join the church and for a while you will see them every week, but when they find out how much it is going to cost, they fall away. Being a true follower of Jesus is not always easy, but it is always worth it, if you are willing to pay the price.”
Collect: Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.
Reflection: Where do you experience mutual love in your life? Is there someone you disdain? How might you show love for that person in thought, word, or deed?
“Gravity” (2013), “discipleship necessitates that the teacher cut loose from the disciple when the time is right”; “Amazing Grace” (2006), about campaign to end slavery; “Babbette’s Feast” (2006), “needs of the flesh and gifts of the spirit”
Study guide [no guide this week], group activity
Focal point: “Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”
• In what ways are our “possessions” defining us?
• I wonder if we are being called to have a huge garage sale and get rid of everything we own?
• I wonder if “the cross” we must carry consist of making decisions and sticking with them?
• What will we be giving up?
• What will we be receiving?
The gospel reading today is another of the passages from Jesus’ teaching as he approached Jerusalem and his death. For weeks now, we have been reminded of the call to discipleship and its cost. Today’s reading describes his call to bear the cross, setting aside all earthly concerns which would turn us away from faithfulness to Christ.
The first reading is from Moses’ concluding instructions to the people of Israel before his death. He reminds them again of the commandments and calls on them to choose between obedience and life on the one hand, and disobedience and death on the other.
In Paul’s brief letter to his friend, Philemon, he describes the transformed quality of Christian people’s relationships with others. Philemon’s runaway slave, Onesimus, has become a Christian and Paul instructs Philemon to receive him back as a brother in Christ. The work of Christ’s Spirit in our lives places us in a new stance in which we are all brothers and sisters, and children of the living God.
Each gathering to celebrate the Holy Eucharist challenges us to renewed commitment to the new life that God gives us. We find ourselves part of a family given us in baptism. In company with our brothers and sisters, we respond by choosing life rather than death, and in union with our Savior, we take up our cross and join in pilgrimage toward the resurrection.
From The Rite Light: Reflections on the Sunday Readings and Seasons of the Church Year. Copyright © 2007 by Michael W. Merriman. Church Publishing Incorporated, New York.