Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem
and undergo great suffering
at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes,
and be killed, and on the third day be raised.
Then Jesus told his disciples,
“If any want to become my followers,
let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
For those who want to save their life will lose it,
and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
—Matthew 16.21, 24-25
We’ve made it impossible to follow Jesus
by expecting our faith to protect our privilege
as if we ought to be recognized as superior,
worthy to be blessed, deserving to be treated well,
given more rights than others, and of course going to heaven.
We’ve turned it backwards. So selfish.
Jesus stands with those who are outside privilege,
denied favor or power, for their sake.
Jesus is not predicting the future here:
he’s accepting the risk of his path,
the plight of the lowest caste.
To follow Jesus—to take up our cross—
is not to tout piety but to stand with the oppressed,
to spend our privilege for the sake of those who have none,
to resist domination at personal cost.
It is to suffer for the sake of justice, healing and life.
The only claim of our faith is not to privilege,
but to God’s grace.
August 20, 2020