“If any want to become my followers,
         let them deny themselves
         and take up their cross and follow me.”
                   —Mark 8.35

The cross is not jewelry, not a badge nor a shield.
It’s a risk, a vulnerability.
Its not an annoyance.
It’s the willingness to suffer for the sake of love.
The cross is planted in the great, deep wound of the world,
the foot of the cross sunk in cruelty, injustice and despair.

God, you know how beguiling my comfort is,
how I protect myself from hurt or loss,
uncertainty or struggle.
I don’t want to enter that pit.
But if your Beloved are there,
will I not go there?
If I go there for love, is it not love that lifts me
from suffering and despair?

Give me courage, God,
knowing it is you who bear the cross;
I only come along.
When I open myself to the pain of love
it falls light upon me.
Because it is love, because it is yours
it is the cross that bears me.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

September 8, 2021

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