Take up your cross

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.
         If you want to become my followers,
         deny yourselves
         and take up your cross
         and follow me.”

                  —Matthew 16.24

The aunt who annoys you is not your “cross to bear.”
The cross is not an annoyance,
nor something thrust upon you.
It is your free, willing and unresentful choice
to be gentle,
to be nonviolent for the sake of justice,
to be vulnerable for the sake of healing,
to open yourself to other people’s suffering,
to enter into the shame of the world
with the enormous grace of God.

To take up your cross
is to enter into God’s fierce longing
for healing and justice,
even at your own loss,
confident that being wrapped in God’s love,
even amidst the suffering of the world,
is heaven.

To take up your cross is to trust
that God alone is our security and our power,
that grace is absolute and death is relative,
that the world can get along without us
but not without our love,
that forgiveness is more powerful than force,
that love is stronger than fear,
more lasting than death,
more real than anything else.

To take up your cross is not to go alone,
but to follow the Humble One,
the Trusting One, the Gentle One,
the one who already bears your cross,
your sin, your suffering, your death,
who wants to bear your light,
your blessing, your soul, in love.

To take up your cross is to die with Christ
and to rise with Christ
into a new life that can’t be killed,
in which you can suffer but not be hurt
and die but not be dead,
in which you are truly alive,
because it is no longer you but God living in you—
wholly present and infinitely loving,
and deeply joyful.
Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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