Narrator: Shortly before he turned toward Jerusalem, where he knew a confrontation would erupt, Jesus told his disciples, “If you want to become my followers, deny yourself and take up your cross and follow me.”
First voice: Is it OK if I’m just a believer and not a follower?
Second voice: Such negativity! Why didn’t Jesus accentuate the positive?
Congregation (read forcefully): Those who want to save their lives will lose them, and those who lose their lives for Jesus’ sake will discover what living really is.
First voice: Hey, is that a “Zen” thing? The shops down on South Lexington could sell t-shirts with that quote.
Second voice: I wonder how we could reframe that statement? How about a book on “How to get all the love you deserve”? Oprah might go for that.
Congregation (read forcefully): What will it profit you if you gain the whole world but forfeit your life? What will you give in return for your life?
Narrator: After that, Jesus and two disciples went up on the mountain, and he was transfigured.
Congregation (read forcefully): His face shone like the sun and his clothes became dazzling white. And standing with him were Moses, Israel’s founding leader, and the great prophet Elijah.
Narrator: It was pure ecstasy. But the vision went away and Jesus went back down the mountain. As soon as he arrived a crowd brought to him an epileptic boy for healing.
First Voice: And so it goes. The spin-doctors still ply their trade. Tourist stores still sell the memorabilia trinkets. And Dr. Phil still draws a crowd who want to know how to get a life. But the joy of ecstasy is still tied to the agony of epilepsy.
Second Voice: That why it’s easier to be a believer than a follower.
Congregation (read forcefully): Anyone can talk about love; you are to practice it. No one is for evil; you are to actually rise up against it. Hold fast to what is good. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
©Ken Sehested @ prayerandpolitiks.org. Inspired by Matthew 16:24-27, selections of Matthew 17 & Romans 12:9-21.