Sermon Snap Shot March 18, 2018

Sermon Snap Shot March 18, 2018

I spent some time on Friday with Colonel Matt St. Clair, a member of our church who’s in the business of “Making Marines” at Parris Island. We talked about the role that pain and suffering plays in taking raw recruits and, over a twelve week period, making them into Marines. Matt talked about how there is an intense process of breaking each recruit down – physically, emotionally and morally (spiritually) – that involves great pain and suffering…but pain and suffering that is absolutely necessary if these recruits have a chance of growing and maturing into full-fledged Marines. You’ve heard the expression “No pain, no gain”? Well, when it comes to making Marines, “No pain, No Marine” Matt would say.

And if you want the privilege of wearing the coveted Eagle, Globe and Anchor, you’re not only going to have endure one big capital “C” Crucible (the final challenge in the 12 week training) but many other smaller “c” crucibles along the way. Becoming a Marine – and continuing as a Marine – will require pain and suffering and lots of sacrifice, including dying to an old way of thinking and living.

So is this the extent of what Jesus is saying here? If we want the privilege of calling ourselves “Disciples” we’re going to have to endure these small “c” crucible-like experiences all the time? Becoming a Christian – and continuing as a Christian – will require pain and suffering and lots of sacrifice, including dying to an old way of thinking and living? Or might there be some “Good News” in Jesus’ command? I believe so.

Over the years I have come to believe that we are not only saved or forgiven because of Jesus’ faithfulness, but that his faithfulness also serves as the model for what “good” living looks like, for what it means to truly be “human.” In other words, if we want a life full of joy, full of purpose, full of meaning – if we want to live a life that is pleasing to God – then Jesus’ invitation is this: 

Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow my example. Run toward pain and suffering. Don’t ignore it. Don’t hide from it. Embrace it. For where there is great pain, where there is great suffering…there, you will also find, great love.

From Sunday March 18 message entitled “Running Toward Suffering” based on Luke 9:18-27, the last in the five week series “Say What? Do What? Five of Jesus’ Most Controversial Lessons”
Rev. Lane Glaze
Pastor, Waters Edge UMC

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