Reflection — Moving Forward
“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Mark 8
The Christian Story is one of constant movement. Jesus is constantly on the move. So is Paul; and Peter. The Church continues to grow and spread, from the 12 disciples, to the first few thousand believers, to a church that quickly spread all over the known (and the unknown) world within a few hundred years. When Jesus says ‘follow’ he meant literally!
One of the challenges for the Christian Church in the last 100 years is ‘what now?’ Though we may pretend otherwise, you would be hard pressed to find somewhere in the world today that the Gospel has not been preached. Not always effectively, completely, or accurately, but the story of Jesus is known in all corners of the world.
But that doesn’t mean the work is done. By no means! Rather it is a time to reconsider how we do things and whether ‘the way we’ve always done things’ is still, in fact, a good way to do things. Are we still willing to take up our crosses and follow Jesus?
It is instructive to recognize that Jesus says take up ‘their’ cross, not take up My cross. We need to be aware that our particular context and circumstances may require of us a different kind of sacrifice, a different kind of denial than those who have come before us, or those who worship across town from us. What is your ‘cross’? What seemingly insurmountable obstacle has God put in front of you? What relationship, opportunity, worry, fear, illness do you need help with? Jesus instructs us to pick it up and carry it to him. Offer it up to God and see what God does with it.
If we don’t move - If we don’t move ourselves, the church, our communities ever closer to God, we are going to get stuck - calcified in place. And our crosses only get bigger and heavier. Friends, I invite you this week to contemplate your own cross (or crosses) this week and to ask how you might lift them up and carry them to Jesus. For even as we do we will ‘the love of Christ proclaim, for all the world adore his sacred name.’