In Matthew 16:24’s Jesus pointed out that “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (NRSV). Luther thought that picking up one’s cross was not so much about suffering, for everyone suffers regardless of their faith. He pointed out that instead its about bearing shame, scorn and persecution for the sake of our faith in Jesus through the difference it makes in our lives. With impeccable follow up to Jesus in Matthew 16:24, the Holy Spirit inspired in St Paul a perfect list in Romans 12:9-21 of occasions when you will indeed be able to carry your cross. Cross-shaped or ‘cruciform’ living results. Hard to really do without being motivated by the love of Christ. This week’s sermon will consider a few examples in relation to this text remembering that all of this is a response, as imperfect as it is, to the cruciform living perfected by Jesus. The find-a-word in this bulletin which is based on Romans 12:9-21 will prove a worthy devotional aid if for each word you open your Bible, locate the verse from Romans 12:9-21 from which that word comes, and ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you might address that verse in your life in the season you are.
August 26, 2020 Pastor Matt Bishop