Thursday, October 14, 2010

Take Up Your Cross Daily

Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God." And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:18-27

There are some days when it is easy to rise joyously with the sun welcoming the day and other mornings when the new day is relief from sleepless nights of worry. Some crosses are easier to carry than others, and in times of challenge and seemingly constant disaster, it is easy to feel the weight of the cross and fold under. Jesus knew how challenged and burdened his disciples would be and how burdened and challenged we are. The challenge of our faith is to be steadfast in these times, leaning heavily in the arms of Jesus, the one who bears it all for us, then and now.

When I was a child, I memorized many bible verses and psalms as part of my Church School training. Being a PK has its complications but I am pretty well versed in scripture because of my upbringing. And when the burdens of the day get too hard to bear, I find myself reciting the ancients psalms (the songs of the court musicians and other) as a comfort and a means of living through the hardest days. And as a reminder of God's love and presence in the midst of all turmoil and trails that we face. Today the first verse of Psalm 18 have been on my lips.

I love you, O Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.

4 The cords of death encompassed me;
the torrents of destruction assailed me;
5 the cords of Sheol entangled me;
the snares of death confronted me.

6 In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.

May we remember today that God is our rock, fortress and deliverer, our refuge, our shield, the horn of our salvation, and our stronghold. May we all take comfort that on our hardest days, God is with us carrying our burdens, sharing our sorrows and hiding us from the worst sharp arrows that life can send.

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