Day 17 - Challenge

A woman walking on a mountain

Day 17 - - listen here

Mark 8: 34–36

And summoning the crowd with his disciples he said to them, ‘If someone wants to follow after me, let them deny themselves, and take up their cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will destroy it. And whoever destroys their life for my sake and the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what use is it for a person to gain the entire world and suffer the loss of their life? For what would a person give in exchange for their life?

Reflection

Sometimes scripture passages are best prayed backwards. Imagine yourself in a hostage situation, with the threat of violent death very real. What would you offer in exchange for your life? Everything you possess? Everything you could ever earn? In that situation, what would appear as your real treasures? Perhaps it would be the people you most love, perhaps even difficult and demanding relationships –perhaps just the prospect of life itself continuing would take on the significance of an immense and irreplaceable gift.

Now imagine that whatever you offer is accepted and you walk away, free and unharmed. How do you feel? And what now do you want to do with your life? We’re more used to translations that say ‘Whoever loses their life for my sake and the sake of the gospel, will save it.’ But in that moment, life wouldn’t seem like something you wanted to ‘lose’, as though it just dropped out by accident through a hole in your pocket. It might be something you wanted to “destroy” – to give yourself deliberately, radically, freely, in love. Might that be what it means to pick up your cross and follow Jesus – to really save your life?

Prayer

This life you have given me, my God –

help me to know its worth,

and its preciousness in your sight.

Help me to hold it as a gift.

And, because I want to follow you, Lord Jesus,

grow a deep and true generosity within me.

When self-gift becomes self-sacrifice,

give me the strength and peace of heart

to follow you to the cross,

and to the life you promise.

 

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