Sermons 2006
"Images of the Cross", Lent 2B, 12 March 2006, Mark 8:31-38

Home | "Light and Darkness", Christmas 2C, 31 December 2006, John 1:1-18 | Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2006 | "What then shall we do?", Advent 3C , 17 December 2006, Luke 3:7-18 | "Luke's Gospel", Advent 1C, 3 Dec 2006, Luke 21:25-31 | Which Jesus? Proper 29B 2006, 26 November 2006, John 18:33-37 | Apocalypticism and Fundamentalism, Proper 28B, 19 Nov 2006, Daniel12; Mark 13:14-23 | "The Widow's Mite: All and Everything", Proper 27B, 12 November 2006, Mark 12:38-44 | "The Commandments to love God, Neighbor, One Another" Proper 26B, 5 November 2006, Mark 12:28-34 | "Sight -- and Seeing" Proper 25B, 29 October 2006, Mark 10:46-52 | "Baptism: Overwhelming Washing", Proper 24B, 22 October 2006 Mark 10:35-45 | "God's Transforming Love", Proper 23B, 15 October 2006, Mark 10:17-31 | "Divorce", Proper 22B, 8 February 2006, Mark 10: 2-9 | "Hard Sayings and Sharp Words", Proper 21B, 1 October 2006, Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48 | "First or Last?" Proper 20B, 24 September 2006, Mark 9:30-37 | "Unintended Consequences", Proper 19B, 17 September 2006, Mark 8:27-38 | "Ephphatha! Open up!" Proper 18B, 10 September 2006, Mark 7:31-37 | "Rituals", Proper 17B, 3 September 2006, Deuteronomy 4:1-9; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 | "Choices." Proper 16B, 30 August 2006, Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-25; John 6:60-69 | "Come to the Table." Proper 15B, 20 August 2006, John 6:53-59 | "Do not be afraid." Proper 12B, 30 July 2006, Mark6:45-52 | "General Convention and Jesus' Compassion", Proper 11B, 23 July 2006, Mark 6: 30-44 | "Basics for the Journey", Proper 10B, 16 July 2006, Mark 6:7-13 | "Jesus and Rejection", Proper 9B, 9 July 2006, Mark 6:1-6 | "Trust, Faith, and Belief" Proper 8B, 2 July 2006, Mark 5:22-43 | "Storms, Fear, and Faith" Proper 7B, 25 June 2006, Mark 4:35-41 | Mighty things from Small, Proper 6B, 18 June 2006, Mark 4:26-34 | Trinity, Pentecost 1, 11 June 2006, Exodus 3:1-6; John 3:1-16 | The King Jesus Fire-Baptized Holy Spirit Church, Pentecost , 4 June, Acts 2:1-11; Jn 20:19-23 | "That they may be one" General Convention 2006, Easter 7B 28 May 2006, John 5:9-15 | "Friends, friendship, and love" Easter 6B, 21 May 2006, John 15:9-17 | Mother's Day, two mothers' love!" Easter 5B, 14 April 2006, John 14:15-21 | "Interesting, this Good Shepherd!" Easter 4B, 7 May 2006, John 10:11-16 | "How do you prove you are alive?", Easter 3B, 30 April 2006, Luke 24:36b-48 | "Do you believe because...." Easter 2B, 23 April 2006, John 20:19-31 | "He goes before you to Galilee...." Easter B 2006, 16 April, Mark 16:1-8 | "Journey into darkness", Palm Sunday B, 9 April 2006. Mark 11:1-11, 14:32-15:47 | "Sir, we would see Jesus!" Lent 5B, 2 April 2006, John 12:20-33 | "Miracles and Faith, Ordinary and Not", Lent 4B 2006, 26 March 2006, John 6:4-15 | "Rage, Rampage, and Outrage", Lent 3B, 19 March 2006, John 2: 13-22 | "Images of the Cross", Lent 2B, 12 March 2006, Mark 8:31-38 | "Baptism, Temptation, Redemption," Lent 1B, 5 March 2005, Mark 1:9-13 | Ash Wednesday , 1 March 2006, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 | ""Nanny McPhee' and transfiguration", Epiphany Last B, Mark 9:2-9 | "Jesus, leprosy, and the law of Moses", Epiphany 6B, 12 February 2006, Mark 1:40-45 | "Healing, wholeness, forgiveness, and love", Epiphany 5B, 5 February 2006, Mark 1:29-39 | "Haints, Unclean spirits, and demons" Epiphany 4B, 22 January 2006, Mark 1:21-28 | Epiphany 3B, 22 January 2006, "God's Call -- and Our Response", Mark 1:14-20 | Epiphany 2B, 15 January 2006, "Call and Response", John 1:43-51 | Epiphany 1B, 8 January 2006, "The Baptism of our Lord -- and Ours", Mark 1:7-11 | The Holy Name, 1 January 2006, Luke 2: 15-21

Lent 2B 2006 Mark 8:31-38

In Yann Martel’s wonderful novel Life of Pi, twelve-year-old Pi decides to explore a number of different religions in his native India. He has a rather remarkable reflection on a conversation he had with a Roman Catholic priest, Father Martin, about the crucifixion. Pi thinks to himself:

“That a god should put up with adversity, I could understand. The gods of Hinduism face their fair share of thieves, bullies, kidnappers and usurpers …. . But humiliation? Death? I couldn’t imagine Lord Krishna consenting to be stripped naked, whipped, mocked, dragged through the streets and, to top it off, crucified -- and at the hands of mere humans, to boot. I’d never heard of a Hindu god dying…. But divinity should not be blighted by death. It’s wrong. The world soul cannot die, even in one contained part of it. It was wrong of this Christian God to let his Son die. …For if the Son is to die, it cannot be fake…. The death of the Son must be real. Father Martin assured me that it was. But once a dead God, always a dead God, even resurrected. The Son must have the taste of death forever in His mouth. The Trinity must be tainted by it…. The horror must be real. Why would God wish that upon Himself? Why not leave death to the mortals? Why make dirty what is beautiful, spoil what is perfect? Love. That was Father Martin’s answer.”

And in the end Pi said: “I couldn’t get Jesus out of my head. Still can’t. I spent three solid days thinking about Him. The more He bothered me, the less I could forget Him. And the more I learned about Him, the less I wanted to leave Him.” (1)

Jesus uses the image of the cross to teach about discipleship. Jesus reminds us that “those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.” If we’re serious, really serious about being Jesus’ disciples, then we will lose our lives. Jesus doesn’t seem to be saying here that those who want to save their life might lose it, might have to give up something rather--crucial. He’s saying lose it! He’s saying that if we’re serious, life will be different. We won’t fit into the world in the same way.

We look around and see people we consider to be very good people, very godly people, looking very normal. They work and play and pray and move about in society quite normally. They seem to fit. For the most part, we do the same. We work and play and pray and move about in society quite normally. We seem to fit. But that’s not what Jesus meant by losing one’s life for the sake of the Good News.
Three stories: David Jardine was born into deep poverty in 1843. As a teenager in Rochester, New York, he served out a prison sentence. But despite all of this, he was became an Episcopal priest. He founded a thriving parish. He founded Saint Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. He founded an order of teaching nuns and a parochial school. At the time of his death he was in the process of trying to establish an Episcopal College. Throughout his discipleship he gave all he earned to the health and care of others. And as a reminder of his own sinful nature, he wore a chain around his waist.

But it wasn’t all a delightful sunny success story. His spirituality was centered on making the Eucharist, the Holy Communion, central to the worship life of his flock – which led to rejection by most parishioners, friends, and colleagues.

And most of his peers thought that he should never have been ordained – he was not a “gentleman of genteel birth”. When he died, he was buried in a pauper’s grave.

Second story: In the early part of the 20th Century there was in Germany a young seminary student. Not only was he a brilliant theology student, he was a superbly accomplished organist. He was also a young man of rather privileged and highly educated background . His big rock, his dream, his goal, was to fill the chair of New Testament and Philosophy at one of the great universities of Europe.

There was a search for the historical Jesus underway as this young man was completing his doctoral studies. As he finished he published a book which analyzed what scholars had been saying about the real Jesus over the centuries.

To his surprise he discovered that every generation looked at Jesus through the lenses of their own lives and experience, which was usually very different from one generation to the next. But it culminated in an AHA! moment for this young man on his own discipleship journey.

Within a year of publishing this book this young man found himself on a new journey, studying medicine and surgery at the University of Strasbourg. He went to Africa in 1913 as a medical missionary and set up a hospital; there he cared for some 2000 patients during his first year.

His name was Albert Schweitzer. And the final paragraph of his book said this about Jesus:
“He comes to us as one unknown without a name, as of ld by the lakeside he came to those men who knew him not. He speaks to us the same word, ‘Follow me,’ and sets us to the tasks which he has to fulfill in our time. He commands us and to those who obey, whether they be wise or simple, he will reveal himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in his fellowship, and, as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience who he is.”

One last story from Sister Mary Rose who founded Covenant House, a shelter for homeless boys and girls: She wrote this:

“On the street one day I saw a small girl cold and shivering in a thin dress with little hope of decent meal or a bed to sleep in.

“I became angry and said to God: Why did you permit this? Why don’t you do something about it?
For a while God said nothing. But that night he replied quite suddenly: I certainly did something about it. I made you.”


1. From a sermon by the Rev. Suzanne Metz for Lent 2B, Selected Sermons

Wicomico Parish Church
PO Box 70
Wicomico Church, Virginia 22579