31 Then Jesus began to teach his disciples: “The Human One must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and the legal experts, and be killed, and then, after three days, rise from the dead.” 32 He said this plainly. But Peter took hold of Jesus and, scolding him, began to correct him. 33 Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, then sternly corrected Peter: “Get behind me, Satan. You are not thinking God’s thoughts but human thoughts.”
34 After calling the crowd together with his disciples, Jesus said to them, “All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross, and follow me. 35 All who want to save their lives will lose them. But all who lose their lives because of me and because of the good news will save them. 36 Why would people gain the whole world but lose their lives? 37 What will people give in exchange for their lives? Mark 8:31-35, CEB
Andy Gullahorn has a line in his song I will that goes like this, “If you need a friend to do some dying with you, I will.” I believe that line captures the essence of community and self-sacrifice all at once. In a sense, as we give up the things the world values (ambition, success, money, isolation, violence, etc.), we learn how to die together through learning how to live into God’s plans for us. We can do this confidently because we believe that death is not the end.
As I write this, a couple of people in our community are traveling to say goodbye to a friend of theirs who is losing a battle with cancer. They’re making a long trip, and it will be a difficult one. It requires sacrifice on many levels in terms of time off, money, and travel. But it will also be uncomfortable and difficult. I can say first hand that not many people want to sit with a person who is literally dying. It’s very uncomfortable. It’s easier to stay in the comfort of our own bubbles.
So, today, I commend our friends for making that trip because, in my mind, it’s an example of literally embracing God’s call to sacrifice our lives as we sit and mourn with those who are losing theirs.