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MK 8: 31-38 (or to 9:1)
The Second Sunday in Lent
(If you opt for MK 9: 2-9, see Marginally Mark for the Last Sunday after the Epiphany)

The wisdom of including 9:1 is: a) otherwise it doesn't get into the cycle (too hard?) & b) it throws light on what's happened immediately before, i.e., those who grasp who Jesus is & therefore what's going on, already know God ruling in power in their own lives. Does God rule any other way?

When Jesus uses the term 'Son of Man', surely he means himself. If that's not true, he's making  things unnecessarily complicated for his followers. Preaching needs to keep the balance between a supernatural Son of Man & the very much Earthed Human Face of God. When the going for the earthed one, the "We are the Body of Christ" one, gets too hard out in our margins, is that when we're tested / tempted (last week's theme?) to focus on, turn more to the supernatural One ?

If today's 'elders' (ordained & lay, them & us) see preserving the status-quo as the essence of keeping the faith, those already in the margins will be alienated further & still further. Are we taking on board the kind of Messiah Jesus is, with all the implications flowing from that, any better than those of old? Are we, any more than Peter, grasped by what it means that Jesus is Messiah?

Jesus cuts to the chase with Peter: he's not seeing things God's way. Been there. Done that. Still go there, do that! Seeing things God's way doesn't come through sermons, committees, structures, & the like. They are often the 'Peter' of this story. To see things God's way: a) Focus on the One who is the human face of God; b) Process things his way, not ours; c) See through Jesus' eyes how God is at work, & where we come into it. If I don't ask that latter question, & wait on God's answer, it's not only that God will become irrelevant to me, but I'll be irrelevant to God.

When it comes to Satan, remember the original meaning & how Jesus uses it here to show Peter he's putting himself in the Satan's shoes & doing more testing / tempting in a desert of the heart!

If I'd been a disciple when Jesus says what he says in 31-38, would I have continued with him? I doubt it. Would any of us? Why would we / should we now? If Jesus' kind of cross is still a one- way ticket to death row, I'll settle for the + on top of a Hot + Bun, thank you. Besides, I never was keen on the denying myself bit!
                Most of us probably live in a culture that encourages us to build more & bigger & better barns for whatever we can harvest during our life. What happens in this process is that we separate 'body' & 'soul' into compartments. They're easier to deal with that way. By any reading of the text  Jesus is a 'putter together' of people, not a 'puller apart'.
               How do we wait on God to discern his will for us as we live (necessarily) in culture / society today? Bask in being a Christian, by all means, but, if you don't believe me, believe Jesus, that if we follow him as a friend today, there's no escaping taking up that one-way ticket to some kind of crucifixion. And resurrection!
               What part does being ashamed of Jesus play in our pretty general failure to share him with others? For 'ashamed', read 'embarrassed' in many discussions I've been part of. If you sense a negative note here, go to v.31 for Jesus' confidence in being raised, & 9:1 where God rules, OK!