It has been only a little over one week since we received ashen crosses and heard those foreboding words, “You are dust and to dust you will return.” On the second Sunday of Lent, we heard Jesus predict his own passion and caution his disciples: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.”
Too often, we are disinclined to embrace a costly discipleship. People come to church to receive good news, not burdens and crosses. We all want to be uplifted by our worship—by the liturgy, the music, and certainly by the sermon. In all cases, Lent calls us to go deeper. We are urged to a rededicate our lives to Jesus and practice prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
As I learn with horror that Coptic Christians are being beheaded in Libya and scores of Syrian Christians are being held hostage by ISIS, I am brought to my knees in prayer and convicted of practicing a non-demanding Christian following. I wonder how I would measure up. I honestly think I am pretty soft. I suspect that I am preoccupied with proverbial first world problems and preserving a privileged church.
And so, I ask myself how do I go deeper this Lent? What cross must I take up? How must I lose my life? I don’t know the answer. I don’t know if I have the courage. And so I ask, will you walk this way with me? Can we struggle together to embrace a more costly discipleship?
May Jesus accompany us and bless us on this way,
The Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes
Thanks to a three-year grant from The Episcopal Church’s Office of Global Partnerships, EDSD is glad to welcome a new part-time Border Missioner, Troy Elder. In this role, Troy will coordinate ministry activities in the Diocese of San Diego related to US-Mexico border and migration issues. He will collaborate with diocesan staff, congregations, community ministry […]
The Diocesan Service & Justice Coalition, (formerly the Diocesan Service Coalition) began in 2011 by Sarah Shealy at Christ Church Coronado. The DSJC is a group of dedicated service/outreach and peace/social justice coordinators at parishes throughout our diocese who strive to network and share ideas and collaborate on projects to make a greater impact in […]
Jeff Pack, St. Paul’s Cathedral John Shelby Spong, the controversial, well-traveled, and now retired, Episcopal Bishop from New Jersey, once claimed his early spiritual search was simply a means to seeking security for his anxious and insecure soul. He would discover he was only partially correct, as he later wrote in his autobiography, “…I discovered […]