“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” -Mark 8:34
I have a collection of crosses in my office from all over the world. Whenever I travel to a new place, it’s something I look for to add to the collection. They remind me of the people I met in that place, and the struggles they experience. The crosses remind me of God’s call on our lives. They remind me of God’s incredible love.
The Cross was an awful punishment to torture the worst criminals to death. A publicly humiliating death signifying weakness and defeat. It was not at all how the Jewish people expected God to send them their king! They had in mind a man who would triumphantly take over the throne of David. Instead, Jesus came and spent time with sinners and outcasts and taught them and loved them. When the Jewish leaders had opportunity, they condemned him to death. At the hands of the Romans, he was crucified.
Today, we see the cross as a symbol of hope, rather than defeat. We remember that God sent His son to die in this most agonizing way to take away the punishment of our sin. Instead of this symbol that represents deep sadness and justice for evil people, it is now a sign of forgiveness and love. God has a way of taking the things that seem so awful, broken, and sad, and turning them into something for His glory! This is a wonderful reminder of who God is and what He can do with us. We all sin, we all have mean and terrible thoughts but God still finds a way to use us even though we are not perfect.
Jesus told his friends, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” It is a daunting thought to take up a cross and follow Christ. When we share the good news of Jesus with others, this is not usually what we start with. It can scare people away! But the reality of discipleship is selfless love. What is the “cross” that Jesus might be asking me to deny myself and take up?
Lord, Thank you for your incredible love shown through blood shed on the cross. As we follow you, may we feel that your yoke is easy and the burden of denying ourselves and taking up that cross is light. Help us to stay in step with you as we walk in your ways. Bless people around the world who are suffering this day. May we provide care, compassion, and healing in Your name. Amen.
It may feel overwhelming, but God continues to guide and provide for our needs, even our health. As we gather for public worship, please keep these recommendations in mind:
We will continue to hold worship services as long as it is safe to do so. Cancellations will be communicated through our newsletter email system.
We will refrain from shaking hands in greeting time and “passing the peace” may be a more “virtual” experience in order to avoid “passing the germs”.
Please, wash your hands often and with soap. We have hand sanitizer available at the entrances to the church and sanctuary for your safety.
The toys in our nursery are cleaned weekly, but if your child has a fever, please keep them home. We do not wish to pass on illness to other children.
If you are sick, please stay home. We will miss you, but we want you to be well and protect the vulnerable among us from becoming sick.
If you are staying home from worship because of illness, you can join us online on our Facebook page or on our YouTube channel:
Here are some helpful links to info from people who know more about the virus and what to do:
PC(USA) General Counsel Mike Kirk recently provided advice from the Administrative Services Group about the coronavirus.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance releases pandemic preparedness guide
Call to Prayer from the Stated Clerk of the PC(USA)
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Updates
Pastor Hanna Peterson Shearer