Karoline M. Lewis
Karoline M. Lewis is associate professor of biblical preaching at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota.
According to Jesus, chances are good that there's not going to be much left of us once we've admitted to just how often stumbling blocks stand in our way. Whether others put them there or we find ways to place them ourselves, they trip us up, keep us from moving forward, get us off track.
Our proclivity for greatness is rather embarrassing, isn’t it? No wonder the disciples keep their mouths shut when Jesus inquires about the topic of their conversation on the road. We want it, and we want it big time—recognition, sway, importance—but we also get that we shouldn’t admit this out loud.
At this point in Mark, stumbling blocks seem a necessary point for conversation. We are good at placing them in others’ paths, and even better at setting them before ourselves.
This week’s Gospel may be the second Passion prediction, but being told that Jesus will be killed is no easier on the second hearing. Maybe the disciples don’t ask questions because they’re afraid it could be true.
I am thinking of starting a campaign to bring back Palm Sunday, without the additional observance of Passion Sunday. Palm Sunday was always one of my favorites growing up as a preacher's kid, and it was all about the palms--and a lot of them. It was celebratory, festive, when as child I got a chance for a hands-on worship experience and a glimpse of what royalty could look like.
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