Dear St. Luke’s Sojourners,
The definition of sojourn is to stay for a time in a place or to live temporarily. The last time I was in Belfast, we stayed close to city center and had evenings free. It was the first time I was close enough to really walk the streets, spend time with people of Belfast, and absorb the culture. As you well know, so often on work trips all you have time to do is fly in, stay with similar people and study similar things, and except for a sightseeing tour or two, you fly back out. To sojourn is to stay and immerse yourself in a place, a people and sit with your own self in this new place. Learning to listen to your own heart about what you observe not only about what is happening “outside” of you, but “inside” as well. Why does this moment speak to my heart? Why am I uncomfortable? How do I relate to others? What am I learning about something that presses into my heart?
Last Sunday we invited you to join Jesus on a sojourn into the wilderness. To learn to sit with the wild animals of our life, to listen to the temptations to live in ways which are less than our baptism, and to understand the call on our lives to repent. I certainly have been listening more deeply in this wild place of lent, because I for one, want to hear and see how love wins. This week as we journey with Jesus, we hear his teaching in Mark 8:31-38. Again, Jesus speaks to us in counterintuitive ways about how love wins, by suffering and being rejected and killed. This is certainly not what the disciples had signed up for and Peter even goes so far as to rebuke Jesus.
Suffering? Rejection? Death?
We didn’t sign up for a wilderness sojourn with those words attached either!
Well, maybe not in the most literal sense of those words. But the sojourning of Lent means asking what it means to be a follower of Jesus, according to Jesus’ call and teachings. Could it be that there are some wild beasts and temptations we encounter in our own personal wild places that maybe, just maybe, to which we may need to die? It also could be, as we really embrace our baptism identity and calling as we travel, there are some temptations in daily life where we do understand rejection by people in our life. Maybe who God is calling us to be, and how God is calling us to live is up against some wild beasts in our culture and we might actually feel rejection by friends or family. These are the questions of the wilderness the sojourner must face. Jesus is very clear to Peter, and to us.
“if any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves, and take up their cross and follow me.”
In order to carry our cross, we have to have room in our hands, our hearts, and our lives. Relinquish is the word this week. Loves wins when we relinquish as Christ did, or even in this case, as Christ asked Peter to do. What could it be for you, Christ is asking you to let go of, in order to be able to bear the cross? Join us this Sunday as we explore what we may need to relinquish, in order to carry a cross so that Christ’s love always wins in us and through us.
Grace and Peace,