Lent 2B, February 25, 2024
New Covenant, Mark 8:31-38
“The Walk of Shame”
“The Human One must suffer many things and be rejected…and be killed…All who want to come after me must say no to themselves and take up their cross…All who want to save their lives will lose them.” Rejection, suffering, death, loss, yeah, ya might wanna try a different sales pitch, Jesus. Ya might wanna rethink this marketing campaign.
Peter certainly thinks so. This idea of a suffering Messiah doesn’t make sense to him. Jesus was their hope. They’d seen him perform miracles. They saw enormous crowds gather to hear him teach. This talk of him dying a criminal’s death makes no sense. But Jesus tells Peter and the other disciples, “Following me will not be glamorous. I’m not a conquering hero. I’m a suffering servant. All who want to be my followers must lose themselves. Following me is for losers.”
Jesus wants his followers to be the biggest losers. He asks us to lose everything to follow him. He asks us to lose our greed, our pettiness and our desire for revenge. He asks us to lose our wants in favor of the needs of others. He asks us to lose our pride, our selfishness and our anger. He asks us to lose our jealousy, our envy and our status. He asks us to lose our prejudices and give-up control. He asks us to lose our liberties and freedoms for the greater good. He asks us to lose our desire to be first saying, “The first shall be last.” He asks us to seek to serve rather than be served.
While the world celebrates winners, Jesus calls his followers to be losers. The cross Jesus invites us to take-up is an emblem of suffering and shame. Jesus is not asking us to be grand marshals in a parade of glory and fame. He’s asking us to follow him in his walk of shame. Amen.