Last week, I wrote about the public nature of “bearing our crosses”; how they aren’t easily hidden, and are pretty obvious to people. I challenged you all to take up a cross with someone, and share it with someone. Maybe you did that; maybe you didn’t.
That’s the nature of the interwebs, I guess.
But I thought some more about crosses this week (it being Lent, and all), and something struck me from the other side of the equation.
I remember sitting with a friend of mine once who was going through some really heavy, trying times. We were sitting outside at a local coffee shop (because where else do pastors hang out <snark>), and she was just crying and crying. Then she began apologizing because of the crying. It was a vicious circle.
I stopped her, as best I could, and said, “Please don’t apologize for your tears. You have to understand—for pastors, these tears are a precious gift to us, because they are your deepest fears and hurts. You are giving them to us to share and to care for, and they are precious to us. This is a gift; don’t ever apologize for your tears.”
In a letter to the church in Galatia, Paul the apostle wrote, “Carry each other’s burdens and so you will fulfill the law of Christ” (6:2 CEB).
I’m used to thinking about “burdens” in a very tangible sense (in fact, I preached on it once): bills, sicknesses, and physical needs. This is true and necessary, and it remains true and necessary. Reaching out to help people walk through life is no small thing, and every time we help our brothers and sisters, we are truly “fulfilling the law of Christ.”
But the main “burden” that Jesus tells us to carry for ourselves is the cross.
(See where I’m going here?)
So as we (and the folks around us) take up our crosses—our own obvious instruments of pain and torture that we experience—at the same time, we need to be reaching out and helping others bear those same crosses.
So last week, I was thinking about what it takes to share the nature of our own crosses.
This week, I’m thinking about what it takes to bear others folks’ crosses.
Someday, someone may offer you the gift of their tears, their hurts, and their shame. How will you respond?
Will you treat it like a gift? A cross that you help carry?
Or an inconvenience, an embarrassment?
I guess in a way I’m saying that we don’t walk this journey towards Jerusalem alone; we need to help each other, and share what we can, so that we can all get there.
Like you didn’t know this one was coming…..
But this is so very tasty too….
peace and blessings