RCL Year B Proper 19
Isaiah 50:4-9; Psalm 116:1-8; Saint James 2:1-5, 8-10, and 14-18;
Saint Mark 8:27-38

A military general[1] once was talking to his staff about taking a difficult position from the enemy.  One of his advisors said that taking the position would only cost a few lives.  And the general asked, “Are you willing to be one of the few?”

Christ is willing to be one of the few.  You cannot think about calling him a coward.  He’s willing to take up his cross—to be considered a criminal—and he’s willing to die by what he carries.  That’s an amazing thing to recognize about our Lord and our Master.  His words and his actions perfectly coincide.  And he so perfectly practices what he preaches, that he wouldn’t consider asking you to do anything he isn’t willing to do himself.  That’s amazing, too.  He’s not the sort of leader to send you ahead to face the fire yourself.  He sends himself, and he sends himself so bravely and resolutely that you want to follow him yourself.  He hasn’t lured you or tricked you.  He just has spoken to you so plainly about what it’s like to live that you want to live the way he does.  And that way of living is offering and sacrificing yourself, your time, and your money in his service.  “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves.”[2]  That’s a realistic suggestion, simply because some things are kept by giving them away.  Your life is that way.  If you want to have meaning and purpose in life, you’ll find them through dedication and commitment to a person or a cause or a goal.  And Christ it is who lives this truth most fully, to give us the example we need to do the same.  He’s always been waiting to see if we shall follow.  What more could you possibly want from a leader?

[1] Quintus Fabius Cunctator.

[2] Saint Mark 8:34.