Lesson 1: Genesis 17:1-10 and 15-19
Gospel: Mark 8:31-38
I’m finding both of these passages irritating. I’m not sure whether it’s that I’m in a bad temper anyway, or if there is something genuinely bothering about them. At first I thought I might write about how Sarah is treated in this story – Abraham gets to make a covenant, she gets to have a baby – but I don’t think it’s that, or at least not just that. (After all, Abraham has to have surgery, too, so it’s not like it’s all fun and games for him.) In a way, both this and the gospel passage are about giving up your life, your freedom and choices, for God – an appropriate theme for Lent, and perhaps one you’d expect me to kick back against, being as I am your common or garden lazy selfish so-and-so.
“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Who’d want to be a follower of his when that’s the advert? The best way to get people to follow you is usually ‘Come this way and I’ll give you some cake.’ Of course, not following isn’t, apparently, going to do you any good either, “For those who want to save their life will lose it.”