In the Cross, All Values are Transformed
Preparing for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost: Three Days before Sunday (Year C)
Psalter: Psalm 81:1, 10-16
Old Testament: Jeremiah 11:1-17
Epistle: 1 Peter 3:8-12
Psalter: Psalm 112
Old Testament: Proverbs 15:13-17
Epistle: 1 Peter 3:8-12
God of majestic glory, in humility you have revealed yourself in the incarnation of your Son, Jesus Christ, who took the lowest place among us that we might be raised to the heights of divinity. Teach us to walk the path he prepared for us, so that we might take a place at the table with all who seek the joy of his kingdom. Amen.
Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse, but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing. For
“Those who desire to love life
and to see good days,
let them keep their tongues from evil
and their lips from speaking deceit;
let them turn away from evil and do good;
let them seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” (1 Peter 3:8-12)
We use the word cross in our hymns, in our piety, in our prayers, and in our pastoral language. But we use it too cheaply. We say that a person has to live with some sort of suffering in life: a sickness that cannot be cured, an unresolvable personality conflict within the family, poverty, or some other unexplainable or unchangeable suffering. Then we say, “That person has a cross to bear.” Granted, whatever kind of suffering we have is suffering that we can bear in confidence that God is with us. But the cross that Jesus had to face, because he chose to face it, was not—like sickness—something that strikes you without explanation. It was not some continuing difficulty in his social life. It was not an accident or catastrophe that just happened to hit him when it could have hit somebody else. Jesus’ cross was the price to pay for being the kind of person he was in the kind of world he was in; the cross that he chose was the price of his representing a new way of life in a world that did not want a new way of life. That is what he called his followers to do.—John Howard Yoder
God has chosen to save the world through the cross, through the shameful and powerless death of the crucified Messiah. If that shocking event is the revelation of the deepest truth about the character of God, then our whole way of seeing the world is turned upside down… all values are transformed… God refuses to play games of power and prestige on human terms.—Richard B. Hays
PRAYER: Almighty God, in your goodness, you provide for the needy. Remove from your people the pride of place and the pursuit of power that mocks humility. Open our hearts in generosity and justice to the neglected and lonely, that in showing esteem for others, we may honor and please you through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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