Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
August 31, 2014
When I am giving marriage counseling, I like to tell couples that in marriage two people become one: two bodies, two minds, two ways of doing things. In marriage two become one, and there’s not enough room in there for the both of you!
In faith, we are united with Christ, a sacred union that brings together two very different individuals: us with our limited perspectives but often very narrow, sometimes selfish view, and God with God’s perfect and sacrificial one. In this relationship, Christ gave up his life for us, because he loves us; but what are we willing to give up for him?
The Gospel lesson for today shows us the everyday struggle that disciples face in following Jesus, with prime candidate Peter. Peter has given his time and his resources to follow Jesus, but hasn’t lost his old way of thinking and being, in order to embrace the new creation made possible through his relationship with Christ. For the sake of their union, he must give up his old ways of thinking, to embrace the new.
Jesus tells Peter, “You are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things. . . .Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:23, 25). Two become one, and there’s not enough room for both. Ask yourself, what am I willing to let go of to make room for Christ in my life? In letting go of self, we will inherit far more than we could ever imagine, even life itself.
Joshua Viste, pastor, Millwoods Community Church, Edmonton, Alberta