Welcome to your online worship from St. Mark’s for Sunday September 3, 2023.
This week begins our marking of the Season of Creation at St. Mark’s. In the face of the pressing global challenge of climate change, Jesus’ teaching in our passage today offers a profound perspective on our priorities and values. Just as Jesus asks us to reflect on whether we are pursuing earthly goals or heavenly aspirations, we must consider the consequences of our actions in the context of our environment.
Earthly goals of wealth and power, often at the heart of climate change issues, may lead to temporary gains but could result in the forfeiture of the very planet that sustains us. Love of God’s creation calls for a shift in our values, urging us to recognize the immeasurable worth of all life, including the Earth itself. By choosing a path of love and responsibility towards our environment, we can bear the cross of necessary changes to secure a sustainable future for generations to come.
Today’s Opening Sentence
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope to which he has called us. – See Ephesians 1.17, 18
Today’s Reading – Matthew 16:21-28
From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?
“For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”1
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Reflection questions for the week:
- Reflect on a time when you faced challenges or opposition for holding onto your values or faith. How did you handle it, and what did you learn from that experience?
- Consider the concept of bearing your cross as a symbol of the cost of following Jesus. What does it mean for you to “take up your cross” in your life today?
- In a consumer-driven culture that often prioritizes material wealth and possessions, how can you resist the pressure to conform and instead seek true value in your life?
- Take a moment to contemplate your own worth and the worth of every individual in God’s eyes. How does this perspective influence your interactions with others and your approach to life’s challenges?
This week music is again provided by Ryan Van Dijk, our Music Director, and the choir. Thank you to them all for their ministry of music!
A continued reminder that if you are at all uncomfortable being in-person for worship, or if you are not feeling well, please join us here online.
Thank you again for joining with your parish family in our online worship today.
Find out how you can support our ministry and good work in the community here.
God Bless you and have a blessed week. Be well!
The Rev’d Canon Rob Park
- Scripture quotation is from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.