Today our lectio divina leads us to Jesus’ words warning the disciples that persecution is coming. He said that they would have to take up their cross, to die in order to find Life.
I remember that first time my sweet Madeline grasped the wood of the crucifer’s cross. She was just five and she fit inside my arms as we walked together in procession toward the altar. Our acolyte was gone that Sunday and I volunteered to be the crucifer. But, as she grasped the cross, instead of feeling proud, I cringed.
I was shocked by my reaction.
I wasn’t sure if I was ready for this blond haired girl of mine (singing right now in the shower) to grasp the cross.
That cross? That cross is going to cost your life, little one. Choosing the cross cost Jesus His life, and grasping our cross will eventually cost us our life. We may never see persecution so many of our fellow Christians experience in the Middle East, but we will find that the road to Life is not Easy Street. The way up is often down. We lay down our American Dream, our vision of what life was supposed to look like and we choose to worship the one true God instead of the way our hearts whisper.
Through all the refining, the stretching, the humbling we can keep walking back to the cross and reaffirming our vow: I WILL FOLLOW WHEREVER YOU LEAD. We can say after the hard words in this lectio, “Take up your cross and follow me,” that the alternative is great cosmic loneliness (I’ve felt it!) and in the end a different sort of death. With Peter we can acknowledge, “Lord, to whom should we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)
Because He is the Good Shepherd, and we can trust in His goodness that the hard way is actually the best way, and the way down is actually straight into His arms we can grasp that cross tight.
Thank you for walking with me.
Blessings as you wrestle with these words today dear friends,
Rev. Summer Joy