In Matthew Jesus is recorded as saying “deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.” In this Lenten season there are many reminders of the need to focus less on our own wants and needs and more on the needs of others. We are reminded that life does not consist in the abundance of possessions but rather in the quality of our relationships. We are reminded that our relationships are richest when they are drenched in love – unselfish, unconditional love – love that does not seek a return but only seeks to give. Taking up our crosses is an invitation to this kind of selfless life.
But our crosses can sometimes be terribly heavy. The burden of them can weigh us down such that we cannot even continue along the journey of faith. We need help. In the Holy Week stories, even Jesus gets some help carrying his cross. Three of the four gospel writers (all but John) record
Simon of Cyrene
as being a passerby who is asked to help carry the cross of Jesus on his way to Golgotha where he is later crucified. If Jesus can get a little help then perhaps we can too.
Pay attention to the burdens that others are carrying around. Perhaps you can be like Simon and help your child, your spouse, your friend, even the stranger or enemy, to carry their burden – their cross. Perhaps your kindness can lighten their load and help them to continue their journey. It is true that Jesus’ own journey led him to crucifixion but it didn’t end there. Good Friday’s pain and sadness gives way to resurrection, new life, and everlasting joy!
May you find strength in that promise and help one another through those days which may seem too dark and heavy to bear.
To God be the Glory!