This weekend we are continuing in what is essentially a two-week mini-series in the gospel lectionary. The question we are looking at is “which messiah are we following?”

You see, both weekends we hear Jesus predict his shocking death to a very astounded and confused set of disciples in the gospel of Mark. They are not really sure what to do with this news that the Christ must suffer and die. That’s a very different definition of Messiah than the one they had always grown up with – so Jesus must just be off his rocker, right?

Ancient gods were known for their strength and power. Their cunning and might. The ways they smashed enemies into bits and lifted the dominant to thrones here on earth. And those who worshipped these gods well, sacrificed to them, followed their rules, and did not anger them were blessed with good fortune. The poor, the sick, the outcast – they were obviously cursed by the gods, too – at least according to the outlook in most ancient cultures.

But not the God of Israel. Never the Great I Am. As much as our God has phenomenal cosmic powers, God chooses a different mode of being. One that focuses on Love, the heart of who God is… a crimson thread you can see throughout the whole of the scriptures if you look. A Love that creates life and justice in its wake. Again, all through the scriptures.

So why would the Messiah, God’s anointed one, be any different?

We humans get so caught up in the ways of this world that we look for the Messiah in all the wrong places. We even look for the wrong Christ, an anointed one who looks like us.

In these texts Jesus asks us, “which Messiah are you following? Are you really sure it’s me?”

Just a few thoughts to ponder as we head into worship together. See you soon!

Blessings, Pastor Janie

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