Friday, June 11, 2010
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?" Matthew 16:24-26
Years ago, I was visiting London (for the first time) with a group of clergy and lay people from the diocese of Delaware. We had been invited for the 300th anniversary of the SPG (Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (in Foreign Parts)), to attend a service in St. Paul's Cathedral. When we weren't going to church we were madly touring around trying to take in as much of the local flavor as possible. One rainy day we went to Portabello Road, ducking in and out of the antique and junk shops. We came upon one shop which had stacks and stacks of processional crosses and other church goods. They told us the C of E (Church of England)has an office of redundancy and closes churches that are dubbed redundant. They buy their unwanted items. All the silver and gold objects, along with stacks of stained glass windows were from closed churches. As we looked over the beautiful, ugly, arcane and every sort of religious art, I couldn't help but think about the generations people, young and old who had carried that cross and tried in their own way to follow Jesus. So many lives unrecorded and yet a pile of stories for each cross, and a thousand prayers said in the process.
Jesus told hid disciples that they would have to deny themselves to follow him. To walk on the Jesus road, we are expected to put God and others first and carry the burdens of our community for the good of all. We are asked to walk God's love road with a humble heart and a sacrificial way of life. A heavy burden for anyone.
Today, I want to take up whatever God has given me and follow on that humble and loving path. My cross is as unique as the situation I find myself in, and yet this is the cross I bear willingly for love and for God. May we all rejoice in the crosses we have been given, knowing Christ walks this road with us and makes all of our burdens light.