God comes to Abraham with the promise of a new future, one where God is present and faithful. We talk about covenant, the paradox of walking before God and following the call. We mention the nature of human response to God: Abram falls on his face – laughing, Peter (in Mark) rebukes Jesus. God’s faithfulness in Genesis is the backdrop to the sharp call to discipleship found in Mark 8. We explore what denial of the self means, and underline that suffering is ‘for the sake of the gospel’ not to further oppress those already bowed down.