Mark 8: 31-38; Mark 9: 30-32; Mark 10:32-34 The Bad News – What Following Jesus Isn’t — A Riff On Mark 8:34 by Stephen Price

My Lenten walk through the gospel of Mark is almost only my words but this poem by Stephen Price spoke to me deeply, and I am grateful for his permission to put it here as I reflect on the Bad New of uncomfortable secrets, unwanted warning and the unpleasant charge to pick up a cross.

What following Jesus isn’t

It isn’t about attending church,
Or dropping money in the offering plate
It’s about walking away from everything
Selling all you have to buy a pearl.
It’s about being so overcome with being healed
That nothing else matters;
Not family, or friends, or money, or job
Or even your own life.

It’s about hanging a syringe with an execution cocktail,
the one they really haven’t experimented with how much pain it causes after it paralyzes you,
around your neck on an unbreakable chain, so it’s always there.
Or dangling the lynching rope
permanently around your neck,

knowing that sooner or later they’ll come for you in the night, torches in hand,
Or maybe with warrant and SWAT teams,
causes standing up to the injustice of the Powers That Be
only ends one way.
It’s about having a passion to die for,
And that passion is for being like Him.
Jesus says, “take up your cross,”
and suddenly, as they say, the shit has gotten real.

Do you really want that?

Do I really want that?

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