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The Cross We Bear

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As Christians we see all of life as shaped by the cross – the archetypal pattern of life, death, and new life which Jesus lived out for us. Sometimes the cross we bear can be very heavy indeed – disappointments, terrible losses, bitter conflict, and ongoing anxiety about our future. When we are in the depths, it’s hard to believe there can be any new life for us. 

When we feel weighed down, we often turn inward…I know I do. But that’s the very time we need to take our burden to Christ and lay it down. We need not face our challenges and tragedies alone. How Christ helps us bear our heavy load, I don’t know…but he does.  And in the Body of Christ, we help each other through our prayers, our caring, our visits, our casseroles, and all the small ways we reach out and touch each other. I have felt that love and care myself, in my recent times of loss.  It’s a great blessing. That’s why we’re here, together, at St. Dunstan’s.                   JBM

 





 

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How might we become better disciples?

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So daily dying to the way of self, so daily living to your way of love, we walk the road, Lord Jesus, that you trod, knowing ourselves baptized into your death:so we are dead and live with you in God.                                                                                                       Hymn 149 vv. 2

 

This week we begin again our Lenten journey. For many years I dreaded this season - the giving up or taking on - thinking that these “things” would “make” my journey through the season better and assist me in my faith pathway. I placed my focus on what I was or wasn’t doing.

As I grew and listened and listened some more, my attention turned away from focusing on what I was giving up or even taking on. I heard these words first in a sermon - but I’m sure this person wasn’t the first to say these words - ‘remember who you are and more importantly whose you are.’ While I know that I didn’t immediately change everything about my response to the season; it did begin to alter my focus. And as the years have gone by I really look forward to this season that helps me to re-focus my life and my journey. It isn’t a one-time centering, but a constant turning and turning and turning again.

In the passage from Mark’s gospel this Sunday, we hear three stories in one. Mark is so expedient and unlike the other gospel writers. Why focus on one event when you can pack three in seven short verses - baptism, the wilderness and temptation, and stepping out into ministry.

So the question for all of us this Lent is - how might we become better disciples and make more disciples this Lent?

 

Sue von





 

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Trail Notes: Self- Giving Love: The Way of Jesus

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Think of the most self-giving person you know. Is she a joyful person? Is he someone you like to be with? Someone you would like to emulate in your life? 

For myself, I know that having children taught me about being a self-giving person…being willing to put my own needs aside – gladly – for the sake of another human being (or, these days, for our dogs!). Because children’s needs are so clear and unvarnished, they help us step out of our self-absorbed selves and respond to them with care and generosity. It’s not that our own needs or desires are gone – we still struggle with the tension between what we want and what others need. But children are good teachers in this journey. 

I’m not just talking about parents, either. I think of my nursery school teacher, Mrs. Bennett, who instilled in me a love of music (accordion!) and of French…all at the age of 4. Or my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Reinehr, who was so full of life and love that she gave me a zeal for learning that stays with me today. And Maggie and Colin’s godmother, DeeDee Allen, who has shown them a consistent and generous love of a non-parent adult in their lives.There are many in our own community who work in public service, forgoing financial remuneration in order to serve the common good. 

Then there are the many people who risk their very lives in service to others – fire and police officers, the soldiers we pray for every Sunday, the medical people who responded to the ebola crisis. What drives these people? As Christians, we see the life of Jesus as an example, a motivator to give of ourselves, without counting the cost, for the life of other people and the life of the world. 

On this last Sunday in our series on human relationships, we reflect on the self-giving life that Jesus demonstrates for us. This is fitting as we turn our spirits toward the season of Lent. The Gospel is paradoxical at its root, and therefore it often makes little sense to the world’s wisdom. But we who know Jesus understand that it is through self-giving – giving ourselves away – that we in fact gain real fullness of life and joy. This is why we can say that the way of the Cross is the way of life.  JBM

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