Tag Archives: Mark 8:27-38

The Way of the Cross

Biblical Text: Mark 8:27-38
Full Sermon Draft

The first natural reaction to suffering is simple avoidance. Run away from it and anyone associated with it. But life is too tough for such a simple strategy to work forever. And too many people suffer for the spoils of society to go to cowards. The second reaction is more nuanced, more full of wisdom, but I’m not sure it is greatly different. We turn our reactions to suffering into a merit game. The merit going to the one who handles and by their handling avoids feeling the suffering. This is partly what is going on in virtue signalling and victim culture. This also goes on in religion and philosophies as diagnosis of problems turns to recommended paths. The sermon highlights two examples.

This is not the way of the cross. Christ did not seek to avoid sufferings, but he embraced it. He did not come to tell us a path, but to give us the way to walk. Not around Calvary, but with it. This sermon attempts to speak without being trite or overly simplistic about that way of the cross.

Cross Marks

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Biblical Text: Mark 8:27-38
Full Sermon Draft

Luther put the cross as one of his seven marks of the church. Jesus made exactly that lesson out of Peter’s confession. What is the first place you go to if you want to understand the Christ? The cross. Anything else is Satan, or the things of man. This deeply Lenten sermon reflects on that centrality of the cross, and what it means for our lives that God is most clearly seen in suffering, shame and death.

The music on the recording is the Lenten hymn O Lord Throughout These Forty Days sung by our Children’s Choir. (Note here that that congregation sang this same hymn last week. Kids quite young, my Ethan is 5, can participate in worship quite well.)