Reflection and Prayer for Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity – 16th September 2018 (Proper 19)

Mark 8:27-38

Having it all?

The disciples now understand that Jesus is the Messiah. They hear how Jesus sees the future and they don’t like it. The Messiah is not meant to be rejected, to suffer and be killed and Peter is quick to voice his objections. Jesus chose the path he would follow during his time in the wilderness. He had been tempted to take other routes and perhaps he hears those temptations again in the voice of his friend, Peter. He could give in to that voice and achieve power and glory through spectacular miracles and signs. That would bring human victory but in divine terms it would be a failure of God’s loving purposes. Jesus once again denies himself the easy option and sets his face firmly on the path that leads to the cross. It’s only by doing this that Jesus remains true to himself and to God. This is the only way he can live with integrity.

In responding to God’s call we, too, have to set our minds on divine rather than human priorities and see things in the context of eternal life rather than this mortal life. Following Jesus might mean that we, too, have to deny ourselves quick and easy options or forgo status, money or power in order to remain true to ourselves and to our calling.

In God’s kingdom the worldly gains of this life are lost but the life lived with integrity and in faith is saved. Sometimes we can’t have it both ways.

Lord Jesus, you lived your life with integrity. Strengthen and guide us when we are tempted to set our minds on things human, not divine. Lead us along the path you travelled, help us to be true to ourselves and to you and bring us into your eternal kingdom. Amen.