Blog Space of Rev. Adrian J. Pratt B.D, pastor at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church, Ellicott City, MD

Sunday, September 1, 2019

The Call and the Cross

Last week we met around a table laid with bread and wine. These symbols point us to one of the central images of our faith, the Cross of Jesus Christ. Our message from the day can be found here. This week we return to the Lectionary passages suggested for each Sunday and will be taking a look at Luke 14:25-33.

We begin our Fall season of church life. A lot things that had taken a break, now get back into gear. It can be a challenge to find folk willing to step up and commit to the many tasks that keep a church vital and moving forward.

Yet, our central image should surely remind us, that discipleship was never meant to be a walk in the park. We are called to embrace a way that is challenging, hard, difficult and demands all that we can give to it. In a world were we like to take things easy… why on earth would anybody willingly take on the kind of commitment that Jesus asks of us? Luke 14:27 “Whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

Here are three suggestions some fellow disciples offer to us.

All is not well with our world. Whilst we enjoy the benefits of freedom, health and bountiful resources, we are the fortunate ones. The same cannot be said for many with whom we share our planet. It seems not simply a religious principle, but a humanitarian one, that we who have much should not rest easy, while many have so little. It is a scriptural principle that to those to whom much is given, much is expected.

History teaches that progress rarely happens without struggle. The great freedoms we enjoy are not accidental. Laying behind our privileges are the historical acts of those who selflessly pursued higher goals… often to the point of surrendering their own lives. The Christian road has created many martyrs. The survival of the faith is a miracle that replicates the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Himself. Our faith has resonated many other struggles in wider society. Struggles against slavery, for equal rights for women, for just labor practices… the list goes on and on.

We seek a higher goal. If we dare take the name ‘Christian’ then we intimate that we are taking on the mantle of Christ-like living. We state our belief that His way of doing things is the ‘WAY,’ that His life represents what ‘LIFE’ should be, that His truth is the ‘TRUTH’ regarding what really counts for something.

Lord, we hear Your call to take up a Cross and follow. We may not want to hear it… but You keep calling. Help us to recognize that You call us to bring positive change to this world we share with so many others less fortunate than ourselves. Amen.

For some music, a couple called Jake and Kaylee, sing a version of “In the Cross of Christ I Glory” on a windy hillside.

The Reverend Adrian J. Pratt B.D.

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