Jesus, You were given a particular cross. Probably the soldiers just picked up the next one and threw it on Your shoulders. You come to this, having been through at least two, if not more, trials, mockery, spitting, denial, interrogation and condemnation by Your nation, by the supreme representatives of Your people…and by us, the people ourselves. You have been dragged, manhandled, slapped, and crowned with thorns. And, for no apparent crime, You have been scourged, a torture so brutal men die from it…and the number of stripes has to be limited in order not to kill the victim. You were in no condition to carry Yourself, let alone a 150-300 lb weight.
Yet, here You were, the cross dropped on Your bleeding shoulder. You had carried many a heavy load in Your days as a carpenter/mason. So You were not unused to such hard labor. But that was not after You had been “brought low” mentally, psychologically, but particularly physically. Yet You knew it had to be; You knew it was not these soldiers that ultimately You were obeying but Your Heavenly Father. So You hoisted the load and stumbled off.
In light of this, I am very, very reluctant to agreeing to pick up my cross and follow You. This is no jaunt in the park, this is a death row march and I really, really don’t want to do this.
Like You, I am given my cross…no picking and choosing. It is thrust on me with life and that’s it…no questions, no returns, no refunds. Pick it up or not…if I don’t pick it up, it’s still there, dragging along behind me…always attached, always reminding me of Your words.
It seems to me that I changed over the course of my lifetime…maybe not change, so much as take on different guises. Like my snake-skinned ego manifestations, each seems like a new life at the beginning…this is it, this is me, this I can handle. However, after a time, the skin chafes and itches, life happens, things don’t go as planned, the me I thought I was, I made myself imagine I was, I projected I was “weren’t me.” And I shed that skin, that identity, that me for, ah, here we are, a much better, newer version, updated with all the newest improvements model of “me.”
The problem was that you, my personalized, made-to-order, one-of-a kind, the mold was broken cross accrued all these odd lumps and gouges, and splinters and scrapes from all these manifestations of me, these metamorphosizings of me, but instead of discarding the snake skins, the attached themselves to the cross and dangle there for all to see. Part of the humbling syndrome, I guess.
The humbling syndrome is a human sculpting process I drastically need to continually undergo which carves away the fictitious masks and facades which I am constantly constructing to “hide” my real self, inferior, deranged, stunted, imperfection personified, which I try to make myself believe is hidden beneath these false ego big-atures, which are, in reality, miniatures because they make me less than God made me to be. And the cross drags along behind me throughout this entire process.
It would be much, much easier if I actually turned around, took a good look at myself not as I think I am, not as I want to be, not as I project myself to be, but as I really am,…congratulated myself for being me, finally got around to thank God properly for me as I am, as He made me, as the perfect me He loves unconditionally, He protected from the death blow of my sins, He encourages, comforts, cajoles, teases, carries, feeds, supports, chastises, and pitches his tent with…this real me. And having come to terms with my real self, leaned down and picked up my cross, thanked him for his gift and followed Him.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”[Mt 11:29-30] On this day, you certainly exhibited meekness and humility, submitting to the suffering of the Passion in obedience to the will of Your Father. You say that I’ll find rest taking up my cross and following you? This is an easy yoke and a light burden?….Only with the eyes of faith can I have the perspective of reality, of my purpose on earth, of my calling to praise, reverence, love and serve You, God, of seeing this as carrying out that purpose in obedience to Your will. Then, indeed it is restful, easy, light: the Way lies before me, lit by the Truth and empowered by the Life. If we make any other choice, we lose our way, are seduced by lies end in death.
A journey of a lifetime begins with the first step. Amen. Alleluia!!!