Through Suffering We Live

A Two Voice Reflection based on Mark 8:31-38 – the Gospel for this Sunday (Lent 2, Year B).

  • Voice 1: Peter
  • Voice 2: An unknown voice in modern times

Those words from Jesus still sting in my ears!

Jesus declared that he is destined to suffer.
well, ok, we all suffer in one way or another.
It’s part of life – and it helps us appreciate the good times in life!

I’m used to suffering – it’s part of everyday life!
Sometimes its illness, or events for which there can be no-one to blame –
It’s the way of the world – and it helps me to learn and grow!

He says he’ll be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the scribes –
well, we already know they are not too happy with what Jesus preaches!
Or with the energy in the crowds around him…

I see the popular people surrounded by crowds and I want to be a part of that –
it’s harder to notice the trend that such popularity seldom lasts!
I notice that in the popular crowd or not, I’m always vulnerable:
as part of the popular crowd, there are always those looking to pull me down;
without popularity, I remain vulnerable to the insults of the crowd.
Not everyone likes my actions, my words, my lifestyle in general!
That should be ok in a diverse society – but I’m sad to say it’s often not!

Then he said he will be killed.
Surely what he’s saying and doing is not punishable by death?
Or is it that he’ll annoy people so much he will be assassinated?
But then I remembered what happened to John the Baptist,
and I have that uncomfortable feeling that this could be true.

I see evidence of death all the time –
The stabbings and shootings, because of differing opinions or affiliations.
People who feel they can carry on no longer – the pressure of life closing in.
Each life ended too early reminds me again how every decision might lead to tragedy.
But there’s death too, in parts of my own life – even if my life on earth continues –
jobs, homes, and people – the things that give me security ripped from my grasp.

And finally he said, he would rise again –
what on earth does that mean?
Surely, once he’s dead, he’s gone!

It’s strange how new blessings emerge out of our darkest sufferings –
I realise that, if I’d never lost that job, I’d never have had time to follow a new passion.
The home I adored now gone, but that move gave me a fabulous new community.
The friends I’ve made, all because I let go of that one toxic relationship.

I tried to rebuke Jesus, privately, face to face, away from an audience –
I tried to tell him that he was going too far with these words,
that a more positive approach might be a better way to go.
But he didn’t let me even begin to explain –
apparently I don’t understand Godly things –
and I can’t apply my human experiences to it!
Telling me my words and actions are that of the devil –
well that stung!

It’s hard to reason when people don’t want to listen –
even harder to accept that maybe it’s me that doesn’t understand!
Maybe it is our role to suggest things not of God –
to help that person to work out what the right thing to say and do is.
But maybe, this time, I should have kept out of it!

Jesus carries on – calling a wider crowd around him –
apparently, its not just his inner circle that need to hear this message!
He continued that for anyone who truly follows him –
we too must be willing to suffer, to be rejected, to be killed!
Then, and only then, can we truly save our lives within this challenging society in which we live.

It’s hard to accept life is not always going to be perfect –
Amidst all the struggle, driving through the dark –
it’s hard to accept these challenges we face make life a bit better!
It’s hard to see the positives that will come through for us – and for God!

Suddenly, this journey with Jesus doesn’t seem so attractive.
The positive energies all around us have been so energising –
and we do get some of that positive attention, being in his inner circle.
But it seems it won’t always be this way.
We’ll have some heavy burdens to carry –
and carry them we must if we want to be upstanding before God!

Would I have started this journey if I’d known all that would entail?
Even now I look for the bypass – to travel round a challenge I see looming ahead.
Yet time doesn’t stop, and the suffering still comes –
Still, it seems, I must learn to trust, to believe,
that through all the darkness comes the light of new life!