In this Sunday’s passage from Matthew Jesus tells us that anyone who wants to follow him must take up their cross. I like to wrestle with this idea, because honestly, I am not completely sure what it means. For Jesus the cross was something heavy, difficult to carry, and it led to his ultimate sacrifice. So is it a sacrifice that we must be prepared to make to follow Jesus?
What are sacrifices that we make to follow Christ?
Every Sunday we hear these words spoken in the Eucharistic prayers, “And we offer our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to you…” Maybe showing up and receiving the holy bread and wine – that is taking time to be in communion with the Lord, is a meaningful sacrifice. Maybe just making the sincere effort to be in church week in and week out is our sacrifice. And certainly the time and effort that the Altar Guild puts into our church is a significant sacrifice. It is time away from family and friends, time away from self-oriented pleasures, and time away from the normal obligations of life.
I think that every time we turn away from our tendencies to be self-oriented and become other-oriented or God-oriented we are taking up our cross. We are choosing to lay down our lives for others and for God. We are putting aside our somewhat endless pursuit of our self-gratification for the well-being of others. And this must be pleasing to God.
Sometimes I think that JUST SHOWING UP – showing up for church, showing up for others, showing up to participate……. is at the core of following Jesus.