The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Another great idea from Peter (Gospel and Psalm for 3.12.06)

with 3 comments

So here we are, set-up by the covenant-keeping words of yesterday’s O.T. and Romans promises.

And in a little longer view, we’re still in the shadow of the transfiguration story (in which my brother Peter proposes a crackerjack idea). And, aren’t we also still in the shadow of the demonstration of God’s faithfulness in the Noah covenant last Sunday?

With all those wiggled into your heart, walk along with Jesus as he teaches:

Mark 8:31-38

He then began explaining things to them: “It is necessary that the Son of Man proceed to an ordeal of suffering, be tried and found guilty by the elders, high priests, and religion scholars, be killed, and after three days rise up alive.” He said this simply and clearly so they couldn’t miss it.
But Peter grabbed him in protest. Turning and seeing his disciples wavering, wondering what to believe, Jesus confronted Peter. “Peter, get out of my way! Satan, get lost! You have no idea how God works.”
Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?
“If any of you are embarrassed over me and the way I’m leading you when you get around your fickle and unfocused friends, know that you’ll be an even greater embarrassment to the Son of Man when he arrives in all the splendor of God, his Father, with an army of the holy angels.”

Here’s the Psalm. I think it’s big enough to rest my heart on. I’m needing that this week:

Psalm 22:23-31

Shout Hallelujah, you God–worshipers;
give glory, you sons of Jacob;
adore him, you daughters of Israel.
He has never let you down,
never looked the other way
when you were being kicked around.
He has never wandered off to do his own thing;
he has been right there, listening.

Here in this great gathering for worship
I have discovered this praise–life.
And I’ll do what I promised right here
in front of the God–worshipers.
Down-and-outers sit at GOD’s table
and eat their fill.
Everyone on the hunt for God
is here, praising him.
“Live it up, from head to toe.
Don’t ever quit!”

From the four corners of the earth
people are coming to their senses,
are running back to GOD.
Long-lost families
are falling on their faces before him.
GOD has taken charge;
from now on he has the last word.

All the power-mongers are before him
All the poor and powerless, too
Along with those who never got it together

Our children and their children
will get in on this
As the word is passed along
from parent to child.
Babies not yet conceived
will hear the good news–
that God does what he says.

The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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Written by Monte

March 8, 2006 at 3:20 pm

3 Responses

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  1. wow, that’s good – “If I have an ‘entitlement mentality’ I can’t really be that blessed by God’s presence …”
    I remember hearing, some years back, that we can only nurture until that which we give to do so becomes taken for granted – then it no longer nurtures.


    March 11, 2006 at 8:28 pm

  2. As far as the Psalm goes….I gotta tell ya; sometimes I long for the NIV or older versions. The Message just isn’t as lyrical as the older versions. Just my preference.
    But the theme here is sooooo good. I think this Psalm illustrates that we just don’t get how God works….like Peter in the gospel reading. The people that are God-worshippers are not the ones we would expect, they are the “down and outers”. Maybe I really am a down and outer…cause I take so much joy in worshipping. Deals with my own awareness of my alienation and separatness from God….and then the realization that by grace, a gift, I’ve been allowed the awesome privilege of worshipping God…in His presence. If I have an “entitlement mentality” I can’t really be that blessed by God’s presence, because I think I’m supposed to have this privilege. Only those that know they aren’t entitled can appreciate the privilege. I want to be in that group.

    Dan - Washington

    March 9, 2006 at 8:10 am

  3. I wonder how Peter felt when Jesus rebuked Satan? I’m sure his implusive, sanguine personality took it in and personalized it. Not too much unlike me I think. But, it seems obvious that Peter just didn’t “get it” yet. I think Peter was still thinking in the mentality of outward signs of the convenant….rituals, tents, and doing the right things outwardly. I wonder if I fall into that thinking now…focus more on the outward signs of God’s covenant rather than the deeper reality.
    Then there is the issue of suffering….Peter showed his gut aversion to it and I think modern, middle-class Americans have such an “entitlement” world-view that suffering just doesn’t show up on our radar. Living in comfort and ease, suffering seems like something that not only should be avoided, but something we “shouldn’t have to put up with.” But, maybe we don’t understand how God works. Some great Thomas Merton quotes come to my mind on suffering.

    Dan - Washington

    March 9, 2006 at 8:02 am

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