When I first began to study the lessons appointed for today, I couldn’t help but to think back to one of my favorite commercials from the 1990’s. The setting is just outside a desert fortress where a criminal is tied to a pole and is facing a firing squad. The chief executioner questions the condemned man: “Would you like a blindfold, Messieur? The man answers quickly, “No!” The executioner then asks, “Would you like a cigarette?” Again, the man answers, “No!” Finally, he is asked, “What do you want on your tombstone?” The man pauses briefly to think before answering resolutely, “Pepperoni and cheese!” The commercial was for Tombstone Pizza which not only offered you convenience: a full sized frozen pizza served piping hot in just minutes with all natural ingredients, but also a panoply of choices suited for all tastes.[i] As Americans, we LOVE choices! We do not like to be boxed in with no options. We want to make the decision with the most concise information and with as little serious discernment as possible. We are highly individualistic and want to feel like every option is personal, tailored specifically for our convenience.
Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Luke 9:18-25
Choose life. Take up your cross.
God invites us to die over and over. Following Jesus means lots of death, lots of letting go. It’s all about surrender: trust in the Lord. Faced with the choice to let go again and again, I think we often fear, flee and fight. I certainly do.
Remember, for a moment, being in an ocean or a pond or a pool. Remember what it’s like floating on your back. You have to lean and let go. That’s the key: let go. The water holds us, supports our weight, if we trust and give our all. When we look up to see where we are or when we struggle, we sink, and end up thrashing or swimming. It’s only when we stop trying, when we surrender, that we float.