18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.’ 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, ‘Follow me.’
Faith has a price. Jesus does not sugar coat the truth. Following him may well mean death, a death on the cross like his. In fact, Peter did die on the cross in Rome and tradition has it that he was crucified upside down as he did not consider himself worthy to die like his savior. Following Jesus is not believe and you can move mountains and become healthy, wealthy, and successful. It is not power of positive thinking. Faith does involve prayer, to know God’s will. Prayer does change reality and sometimes miracles happen but often they don’t. Jesus is a savior not to take us out of life but to walk with us through life to a better place, Sharing our story sometimes hurts…us.
Jesus concludes with, “Follow me.” Today is Ascension Day when many Christians around the world will celebrate that this is the day Jesus ascended to heaven. It is seventh Thursday after Easter. This Sunday is the last Sunday in the Easter Season and the following week we start Pentecost. We follow a God who incarnates, a fancy word for ‘comes to us,’ and who calls sto us to follow him. As you pray this morning, ponder what that means to you. Are you following rules? Ideals? Family tradition? Today we remember that we believe and follow a God who comes to us, died for us, and leads us in meaningful lives of community. Blessings.