If we want to follow Christ, we must follow, obey, and approach life with a new way of thinking. When we answer the call to follow Christ, we start anew. Our new birth enables us to lay claim to a new will directed by Christ and a new purpose that leads to eternity with Christ. Jesus’ call to radical discipleship individually, coupled with Paul’s radical message of holy living for the beloved community, defines our call to the Christian life. It’s the challenge Jesus extends to all who would follow him. Jesus’ teaching has an eschatological focus, but we live in the present. Peter shifts his focus from the realm of heavenly thoughts to those of the world; he begins to think in an inappropriate way. As Jesus tells Peter: “You are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” Peter, in his understanding of Messiah, cannot fathom anything other than stunning success.
Each of us faces the challenge of being Christian. Christ directs us to love God with our whole selves and to love our neighbors as completely as we love ourselves. Living a life that evidences such love is the epitome of a holy life: one that seeks justice for all, shows kindness and compassion to all, and walks in humility with God.
The Christian life depends on faith in Christ and a denial of self for the good of the community. It is a life in which thought and action based on love align and reflect the kingdom of God. We meet the challenge only by living in Christ’s presence and reflecting Christ’s light to the glory of God.
Glorious God, we stand in your presence. May we truly reflect your light in the world, through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
In Exodus 3, Moses is moved to inspect the bush because it is an oddity, and in so doing he encounters the presence of the living God. Not even Moses could be prepared for the challenge that ensues. Psalm 105 recites God’s great acts of mercy in Israel’s life; in this instance, focusing on Moses and Aaron. The key verb here is “sent,” and its subject is God. In Romans 12, Paul takes the notion of covenant demand and expounds on it. Christians are called not simply to keep rules; they are transformed and readied for new life in the world. Paul provides an inventory of new life for those who are changed and renewed by the gospel. The Gospel reading is one of Jesus’ most acute reflections on the obedience expected of the faithful. He announces his own destiny of suffering obedience and invites his disciples to share in that radical destiny. For the faithful, there is no “business as usual”; it’s a divine call that brings challenge.
• Read Exodus 3:1-15. Have you experienced God’s call to something you felt ill-equipped for? What did you say to God? to yourself?
• Read Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c. How difficult is it for you to praise God in the midst of turmoil? Why?
• Read Romans 12:9-21. Where in your life do you have opportunities to bless those who curse you?
• Read Matthew 16:21-28. What does your call to discipleship in Christ cost you?
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