Lent II // Sunday, March 1 // Nancy E. Petty Preaching
Sermon Title: Seeking the Sacred in a Secular Age
Text: Mark 8:27-38
Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ 28And they answered him, ‘John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.’ 29He asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Messiah.’* 30And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.
31 Then he 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. 32He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33But 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.’
34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel,* will save it. 36For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’
Notes: Christian tradition has often set up a false dichotomy between the sacred and secular. Our culture is obsessed with this kind of dualistic thinking. Even our scriptures can seem to promote a dualistic false dichotomy between the sacred and the secular, i.e. divine things and human things. This sermon will focus on the question: What does it mean to seek the sacred in a secular age? How do we keep our minds set on the things that really matter?
Questions for Reflection
- Where do we promote dualistic thinking in the everyday? How do we divide our lives into sacred and secular?
- Do we undermine God when we promote “good people”?