Greetings St. John’s Lutheran Church!

Then Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders,the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” –Mark 8:31-33

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” This old English rhyme for children is meant to undermine the power of negative speech. When a child is being teased, this rhyme can bring him or her a moment of comfort: something to say to diminish the hurtful words of the person doing the teasing. The truth, however, as Jesus makes clear in this passage from Mark, is that words have great power, and negative words can be just as harmful as negative actions.

During worship this month, we will engage with texts that help us to think about how we are called to be Christians in community. In Jesus’ time, words were as powerful as they are today. Indeed, the rumors spread by people who followed Jesus, who witnessed his miracles and heard his teachings, are what led to his death on the cross. It is their words claiming that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, that prompted the elders, chief priests, and scribes to arrest and have Jesus killed.

As Christians, we are called to be truth-tellers and spread the good news of God’s love shown to us through Jesus. Yet, we, like Peter, may be tempted to silence the truth when we sense it will bring danger to us and the ones that we love. How can we find the strength to speak the truth boldly about God’s vision of justice for our world? How can we find the courage to share the good news with others when talking about faith is often taboo? We will wrestle with these questions and others as we find inspiration in the stories of God’s people told in Scripture and told by members of our community.

In Christ, Pastor Kat

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