A GOOD DAY TO DIE
Then to all he said, If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me. (Luke 9:23)
Lent begins with our Lord’s call to pick up our cross, and it culminates with Christ’s Passion. In reflecting on verse twenty-three, it became apparent that not only does everyone have a cross, but that we have one every day. And, somehow, every cross has to do with renouncing our Self.
That each day contains a cross is not up to us. Suffering is a condition of our existence –only to be understood in fullness when we are claimed into The Fullness. However, Jesus’ invitation to pick up our cross clearly implies that we have choice -to embrace its suffering as we follow in His footsteps; or to reject it as an obstacle in Our path. How am I to understand this call? With these thoughts I settled into prayer.
“Dying is hard Lord,” I complained to God. In my imagination, his response did not appeal to my plea for sympathy:
“And water is wet!” he replied. “What did you expect? I learned obedience through suffering and so must you. I was obedient unto death on The Cross in order that you may have Life in Truth. As you are obedient to the death of your self-centered life, I will raise you up, and you will be born again, into New Life in me. I am the only Way to the Father, and the Cross is the only way to me. It is the Tree Of Life which demands your death.”
“Your obedience requires suffering death. It requires that you trust only in my love for you –believing that you belong only in me; that you exist, not because you live, but, because I love you. Obedience leads to the Cross, where weakness vanquishes pride and exposes the illusion of self sufficiency.”
“The Cross is required of you, to crucify those fears and desires which imprison you within a false reality, where you are bound from trusting in my Love. The Blood of my Cross has broken the Lies that now chain you. Come, follow me. Take up my cross in this season of Brokenness, of Littleness, of Sacrifice. Bow your head unto Death. Surrender your spirit, your hopes, your dreams, your fears and your sins.”“Believe in my love which eternally sustains you. Let go! Release your Self into the stream of Water and Blood flowing from my Wounded Heart -pierced by your sin. Allow my Holy Spirit to wash over you, to carry you away -into my Father’s Bosom. Now is the time, today is a good day to die into New Life. By my stripes you are healed. I have suffered for you. I am suffering with you. You are never alone in your need. I am with you always. Do not be afraid of today’s cross. I bear it with you. I had Simon of Cyrene, but you have me. Come, see my footprints already cast –I know The Way. The road is hard, but with me, the night has no Darkness, and your burden will be made Light.”