Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16; Psalm 22:22-30; Romans 4:13-25; Mark 8:31-38
“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” With those words we begin the season of Lent; a season that the prayer book describes as one of ‘penitence and fasting.’ It is traditional for people to give up something during Lent; something that is a part of the daily fabric of their lives, perhaps something that is a treat or is looked forward to regularly for comfort. For instance, many people give up drinking their favorite soda, or eating chocolate. Others may give up watching a favorite TV show or spending time on social media. Whatever it is, when we are triggered by habit or desire for this creature comfort, its absence ultimately serves to remind us of our ‘poverty.’
Genesis 17: 1-7, 15-16; Psalm 22: 22-30; Romans 4: 13-25; Mark 8: 31-38
Those of you who were here when I last preached will remember that I began by telling you how much fun I was having listening to, and preaching from the Gospel of Mark. Mark is fun because he is so breathless. He races us through one scene and then plunges us headlong into the next before we have time to catch our breath or ponder the significance of what has just happened. It’s like being doused with a pail of cod water, and before we have time to cry out in outrage we are doused with a second pail of even colder water. Today is no different. We have just been doused with cold water and almost before we have had time to register our shock, a second and third pail of equally cold and equally icy water hits us.
Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
If you have the opportunity to travel to the Holy Land, you inevitably experience a great diversity of people – Jews, Muslims, and Christians – all of whom lay claim on the land, and on their own particular narrative of history: what has happened there, down through the centuries, and why.