Splinters & Crosses

Lord, keep us from making crosses out of the splinters of discomfort in our lives. Help us recognize the true crosses you call us to bear, those whose weight lends to the freedom and provision of others. Amen.

Kyril and I regularly pray with commonprayer.net.  This daily resource of prayer has a rhythm I appreciate and a message that challenges the way I think as an American Christian.  As I prayed this prayer this morning I had to think about what I was saying.  It did not flow naturally off my tongue.  I had to go back over it and think some more about it.

The whole idea of bearing your cross in our world of affluence takes on a strange meaning.  This prayer speaks of the tendency to take our small discomforts and through focusing on them, make them to be our crosses.  This is a rather self justifying course of action.  For instance when I don’t have real or substantial persecution in my life, I have to search for small things to call persecution.  Worse yet is when we find people who are against us because we have behaved like jerks,  we might say that are being persecuted for taking a right and godly stance.

But for an American Christian what would truly be a cross, worthy of being called a cross.  When I consider Jesus’s cross, I realize that it is something that he had the power to avoid.  He came to earth to take up a cross.  He chose it.  It was not thrust upon him. Through his cross, we believe, he brought forgiveness, reconciliation, freedom and life.  He chose suffering so we could be healed.  He chose death pains so we might have eternal life.

This is the transformative thought for me in this prayer.  True crosses will do the same.  If we willingly chose to bear the cross and be his disciple, our crosses will bring life to others.  Our willingness to take up weighty crosses will bring freedom, life and reconciliation to our world.  Although we may be waiting for a cross to be thrust upon us, true disciples chose to take up their cross and follow Jesus.

So what is a worthy cross for you or me? I know for me I avoid rejection. So I often will avoid speaking challenging words that are contrary to the accepted opinions of many of my Christian brothers and sisters.  In other words, when faced with those things that seem to me contrary to everything I know about Jesus, I will often choose to remain silent, rather than face the possibility of rejection.  But Jesus willingly chose rejection … He was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.  So will I take up the cross? Will I publicly advocate for what I  know in my heart to be of the Spirit of Jesus?  I am ashamed to say that I am doing so, but only slowly and with hesitation.

So what is a worthy cross for you?  I don’t know, but know that it will be heavy and it might cause you pain. But it will help bring life to others.

Lord, keep us from making crosses out of the splinters of discomfort in our lives. Help us recognize the true crosses you call us to bear, those whose weight lends to the freedom and provision of others. Amen.

 

 

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One Response to Splinters & Crosses

  1. Febe Ramon says:

    Thank you, beautiful words.

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