A quick and necessarily brief look at next Sunday’s RCL texts before commuting to a three-day workshop on palliative care …

Isaiah 50:4-9

What it is to know your way! The prophet (the one who speaks forth YHWH’s message) reflects on his task. From his waking moments, the message consumes him, resisting all distraction and opposition. Nothing will dilute or deflect the words that have been given for him to convey. His outlook is crystal clear and his face is set towards the course that lies ahead.

Psalm 19

A celebration of orientation towards YHWH that becomes a joyful reorientation to the life we are given to live.

James 3:1-12

A timely warning for those who teach or “speak forth YHWH’s message.” Words are powerful and open to abuse. Always remember your orientation and stay centred, adopting the stance of the prophet in Isaiah’s text. Beware the sabotage of ego and the siren call of our surrounding culture in which we participate, sometimes critically but often uncritically.

Mark 8:26-38

The great “hinge” on which the door of Mark’s gospel swings. Jesus’ question, “Who do you say I am”, posed to the disciples in an alien environment, pulls forth from Peter the only viable response he can make. From this time, Jesus turns his face to the inevitable Jerusalem climax, calling on his followers to take up the cross and follow him. One might reflect that the sacrifice we are called to is a “whole life event.”