“They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid.” (Mark 10:32, NIV).
“They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way.” Does a more concise phrase of Jesus’ settled intent exist in the Gospel narratives that this? Mere days prior to his coming betrayal, arrest, trial, condemnation, flogging, mocking, ‘felt abandonment by God,’ crucifixion, and culminating death, Jesus resolutely walking willingly towards the place of his suffering, out in front of his disciples, resolute in seeing the Father’s upside-down redemption through to its bitter end? If I were walking with the disciples, continually needing to pick up my pace to match Jesus’ step forward, I wonder if I would have even noticed my friend’s determination, let alone query as to its growing intensity. Would I learn from my Lord’s gracious surrender to all that was going to fill this week, his unblinking willingness to face head on the suffering speeding his way? To what degree am I willing to lead the way to my place of suffering, knowing that the Father is walking with me towards the darkness?
“The point of a story is never about the ending, remember.
My first Two Oceans 21km Half Marathon (and my wife’s second!) is less than two weeks away, as of this initial
writing. Today however, we are in Week 6, still stuck in the hard work of the middle, with a 15km long run
coming this weekend. Ugh! Training (and life) is hard!
Text to Accompany “A Liturgy for Lent”
A Meditation on Lent: FASTING FROM INDIFFERENCE
Sometimes I wonder if Pope Francis is my pastor.
Although I am not Catholic and am a part of a local faith community in Cape Town, I have both warm admiration and multiple moments of personal conviction due to Francis’ grace and humility towards others as Pope, having followed his humble ascension to the Papacy with increasing interest over the past few years. From afar, he seems to understand with unusual clarity – and to live from a sincere heart with great simplicity and equal conviction what walking with Jesus and serving others in His Name looks like, regardless of power or title. And thus, while brainstorming ideas for our Lenten liturgy this year, a 2015 Time magazine article written by Christopher Hale entitled “Pope Francis’ Guide to Lent: What You Should Give Up This Year” began popping up in my Facebook feed again, shared by a few friends whose spiritual maturity and sensitivity to the Spirit’s Voice I trust almost implicitly. Curiosity peaked, here’s what stopped me dead in my tracks, laying the rails for our Lenten journey this year:
“So, if we’re going to fast from anything this Lent, Francis suggests that even more than candy or alcohol, we fast from indifference towards others.
In his annual Lenten message, the pope writes, ‘Indifference to our neighbour and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience.’
A Short Meditation on Epiphany: