Posted by: Joel | December 5, 2008


So I came to a terrible realization last night reading Mark 6.14-29: I am king Herod.

Faced with the choice to accept the word of God that he heard, and in turn bear fruit in keeping with repentance (see Mark 4.1-20), he instead bowed down in submission to the idol of fame and wealth and reputation. And I think the hardest thing for Herod, as for me, is not necessarily what that moment of choice will bring at that moment, but what it will bring for days and weeks and years thereafter. Repentance is not easy. It puts flesh and bones on Jesus’ call to ‘take up our cross and follow him’.

But a lot of the problem is that I focus too much on the cross. The goal is not taking up our cross. Rather, the goal is following Jesus, and taking up our cross is simply the necessary – and paradoxically life-giving – road we are called to travel as disciples and pilgrims on this journey. So I must focus on the crucified and risen Jesus of Nazareth! He died for us while we were still enemies in submission to the idols and fears generated by humanity. He defeated their power and poured out his Spirit to help us live in that victory, in the context of the community of broken followers who need each other in this battle.

Yahweh Elohim, forgive me for doing whatever I can to avoid repentance and whither my faith. Father, give me the willingness to open my heart for cultivation as your Holy Spirit sinks the roots of Christ deeper and deeper, so that I may bear witness to your love and your kingdom and your glory and your power, amen.


  1. Joel, as always, your transparency and honesty are admirable, and a blessing to me. Thank you for these words of encouragement.

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