From my sermon for Pentecost 19:
I’m not sure if any of the four men who died in Benghazi identified themselves as Christians, but their example reminds us that authentic religion — and I’m thinking here of the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — are not merely systems of belief, but are more profoundly, unique ways of life. They have everything to do with how one actually expresses their unique life and motivated abilities in the world. Faith is not simply something you have, it is something you do, and more deeply, it is something you are.
This truth surfaces for the disciples of Jesus in our Gospel reading today. Some scholars say this story, coming right at the center of Mark’s Gospel, is the pivotal incident in the life of Jesus, the most critical, defining text in the New Testament. Is that an overstatement? Let’s take a closer look.