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December 5, 2021
Lent Series

I Will, With God’s Help

The Second Sunday in Lent

February 28, 2021

I Will, With God’s Help

by Malcolm McLaurin

Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.—Lisa Carter, Starr’s mom, The Hate U Give

Peter, Peter, Peter …

Let me be honest here. In some ways … in MANY ways, I find myself in the same boat as Peter. Wanting to deny the difficult, the scary aspects of discipleship. Peter was just being honest. He didn’t fully connect the dots. Yes, he truly and deeply believed that Jesus was the Messiah, but his definition was pulled from human sources. His definition was one that was fashioned by the world in which he lived, not the one that Jesus was revealing. His thinking was based on another model for Messiah-ship, not Jesus’s model. A Messiah who suffers? A Messiah who is rejected? A Messiah who is killed? These were not a part of Peter’s idea of the Messiah. Peter’s rebuking of Jesus reflects this. Peter’s rebuking reflects his shock and his fear.

Like Peter, I am often left in disbelief and denial about where Jesus is calling me to go. And while I may not rebuke Jesus (WOW! What a bold move), I do choose not to listen. Or maybe it is that I choose to listen—not to my heart and soul—but to my desire and fears. Their messages are clear. They tell me to turn my eyes away from injustice. To ignore the pain of others. To worry about me and mine. Their messages tell me that the material is the measure of worth. Their messages run counter to my baptismal promises. To seek and serve Christ in all, to love my neighbor and myself, to strive for justice and peace, and to respect the dignity of everyone. The messages from my baptism are dangerous, while the former are safe and comfortable.

I am reminded of a book I read last summer, The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas. It is about a young black girl, Starr Carter, who, after witnessing a great injustice, is forced into making decisions between what is right and what is easy and comfortable. With each chapter we are witness to her struggles to make the right decision, but fear and the loss of comfort make a worthy opponent. While her decision did not ultimately shield her from danger and discomfort, it freed her to live the life she was being called into. It freed her to truly live.

Both Starr and Peter remind me that listening to and following Jesus, also known as discipleship, will often take us to places and situations that aren’t comfortable. Following Jesus often involves moving against the grain of the world around us. But following Jesus—discipleship—always leads to new life.

I wonder if there are places where fear and discomfort are keeping you from responding to God’s invitation to discipleship? During this season of Lent, how might you commit to a practice of deeper listening? 

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