What did I do?

Of all the passages to pull…I get a really tough one out of Mark. Allow me to back up for a moment. I’m preaching at my home church at the end of month. It’s Year B, which is supposed to be Mark. But because he’s such a difficult writer to work with, the standard lectionaries usually substitute a lot of John and Luke instead. So our church has gone with an all Mark schedule. And I get this:

Mark 8: 34-9:1

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. For 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. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those 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.’

And he said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.’

I’ve got a few ideas, but I need to check the Greek to see if I can do it in good conscience. I’ve seen too many sermons that depend on a word play that only works in a single translation not to check.

But until then…I’m trying to figure out what shame means in this context. How is shame part of the Good News? Mark is subtle and enigmatic…so I have hope that I’ll see some new things in this passage as I work with it…