Christ Carrying the Cross”, oil on canvas painting by Titian, 67 x 77 cm, c. 1565. Museo Nacional del Prado}} |Source =Museo Nacional del Prado |Author =Titian |Date =c. 1565 |Permission
After calling the crowd together with his disciples, Jesus said to them, “All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross, and follow me.” (Mark 8v34)
I’m going to assume, for just a moment, that you know some of the details of what Jesus is talking about—that “taking up your cross” means taking up something that is very shameful and painful.
But there’s one more thing about crosses:
… they’re big.
You see, the thing about crosses (and taking them up) is that they are very difficult to hide. Crosses are just “out there” for all the world to see (one of the reasons that the Roman government reserved crucifixion for rebels and terrorists was so that they could very publicly proclaim, “Does everyone see what happens to people who choose to disobey Rome?”)
Most of the time, I feel like I get the part about carrying my own pain and shame, but what I miss is the idea about my cross being public, being shared with others. It’s one thing to acknowledge your pain and shame; it’s another thing entirely to choose to share it with someone.
It’s an easy assumption that we all have painful secrets; what would it look like for you to share them with someone during this Lenten season? What would it look like to really take up your cross in a public way?
Is there something you need to share?
Interestingly enough, as Jesus carries his own very real, very heavy cross to the place of his crucifixion, we’re told that the soldiers pulled a man out of the crowd and forced him, of all things, to help Jesus carry his cross.
Simon, a man from Cyrene, Alexander and Rufus’ father, was coming in from the countryside. They forced him to carry his cross. (Mark 15v21)
So maybe, just maybe, that as we make our crosses visible to others, we find that they will lend their shoulders, their strength, their faith to us, and make our walk just a little lighter.
p.s. I the title for this post was inspired by a song written by a good friend of mine named David Greco. He’s a great singer and songwriter, and an even better person. Please support his music and make him famous.