Monday, September 14, 2009

The Cross

God's idea of his own status or power has nothing to do with maintaining a sense of superiority and avoiding humiliation. The heart of God's nature is love: not in the way that people often think about it today, where the desire for love is really a desire for their own happiness or satisfaction, but a love which means being completely free from the grip of self-seeking motives, ready to suffer and to renounce the age-old ways of violence and self-assertion. So what this set of readings tells us is that, in the person of Jesus, we have the fullest picture of what God is like, while at the same time Jesus shows us what we can be like if we open ourselves as fully to God as he did.

Jesus does not only predict his own death, he informs the disciples that if they are not prepared to "renounce themselves and take up their cross" they cannot be true practitioners of the gospel. Being a Christian does not mean allowing ourselves to be trampled upon as a doormat, but "the Cross" is going to be present in our lives in various forms of hardship: sickness, pain, loneliness, failure, sometimes in forms of suffering that are small and relatively trivial, at other times in sources of misery that are overwhelming and leave us permanently marked.

Indeed the more we imitate Jesus’ own commitment to truth and his willingness to make powerful enemies by our allegiance to the values of the Kingdom, the truer this will be. But it is only if we remain able to grow in the spirit of compassion and service towards others, in spite of suffering, injustice and misrepresentation, that we will draw close to God. If the experience of suffering makes us violent, hard-hearted and closed-in on ourselves, then we will be cutting ourselves off from God and from the healing, transforming power of his grace.

As the embodiment and revelation of God on earth, Jesus faced this dilemma throughout his ministry, and it is only if we follow the path that Jesus took when suffering and unhappiness come our way, that the Cross will be a triumph in our lives as it was in Jesus’ life.

God bless you.
This is in reflection of the Sunday message, copied from an article I read here online.

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