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Mark 8:27-38 & Romans 12:1-2
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached a sermon entitled “Transformed nonconformist” on the text we hear today in November 1954. Here are some excerpts. (use this LINK to read the whole sermon online)
“’Do not conform’ is difficult advice in a generation when crowd pressures have unconsciously conditioned our minds and feed to move to the rhythmic drumbeat of the status quo. Many voices and forces urge us to choose the path of least resistance, and bid us never to fight for an unpopular cause and never to be found in a pathetic minority of two or three… Success, recognition, and conformity are the bywords of the modern world where everyone seems to crave the anesthetizing security of being identified with the majority. In spite of this prevailing tendency to conform, we as Christians have a mandate to be nonconformists. The Apostle Paul, who knew the inner realities of the Christian faith, counselled, ‘Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ We are called to be people of conviction, not conformity. Of moral nobility, not social respectability. We are commanded to live differently and according to a higher loyalty. Every true Christian is a citizen of two worlds, the world of time and the world of eternity. We are, paradoxically, in the world and yet not of the world. …As Christians we must never surrender our supreme loyalty to any time-bound custom or earth-bound idea, for at the heart of our universe is a higher reality – God and his kingdom of love – to which we must be conformed. …
Everywhere and at all times, the love ethic of Jesus is a radiant light revealing the ugliness of our stale conformity.”
Taking up your cross and following after Jesus – walking in the way of his steps is not conforming to this world. It’s a refusal to settle for the bankrupt ways on our world and to invest oneself in the world-changing love ethic of Jesus
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION & EXAMEN:
• What engaged, enraged, or surprised you in these texts?
• How do you actively not-conform to the anesthetizing security and values of our world? How is that a dying to self, or taking up your own cross? How do our small, daily choices and actions matter?
• What invitation do you hear the Spirit of God speaking
to you – or to us, as a church – to act, speak, be or
change through this word of scripture?