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Homilies by Rev. Andrew Collis unless indicated otherwise.

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Lent 2, Year B
South Sydney Uniting Church
February 28, 2021

 Mark 8:31-38

‘Deep-down affirmation of the world’

 Who wants to be a follower of a Christ who is willing to endure rather than inflict suffering? Who can watch and pray with such a Christ? Indeed, in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus is shattered, afraid.

 And yet in prayer Jesus discovers another kind of courage and assurance; to go on loving, and to trust the One he calls Abba, despite the darkness of the situation. “Salvation is not making it all better,” writes one theologian. “It is the grace of finding a way to live that keeps faith with the importance of goodness and love …” (Mark Johnston).

 Jesus delights in being with people, different people, “non-persons” ... eating and drinking with them. Jesus delights in seeing them changed, forgiven, healed, with new dignity. Jesus enjoys and loves even Peter who misunderstands him and denies him.

 It is this joy, this deep-down affirmation of the world, this trust in God who says Yes to the world (Yes to its variety and beauty), that enables him to bear the cross.

There is good news. I pray that we, each in our own way, are inspired to say: “I am changed. I am better able to meet brute force with courage … oppressors with creativity and kindness … egotism with altruism. I am ready to live with others, in Christ and with all those Christ loves … even, impossibly, or so it seems, to lose my life/psychē … and I am open to receiving my life/psychē from others, from God …” + Amen.