Our Crosses and How We Carry Them

When I read today’s readings, I am drawn to the reality that how I understand what my cross is and how I carry it will define the lens of how I comprehend these readings. My hope is that Holy Spirit will refine your understanding as well as mine through this reflection.

I was joking with some friends that I am not ready for Lent since the past two years have felt like a perpetual Lent. In self-reflection, that joke is telling of how I often slip into viewing my approach to Lent and sacrifice. What I find myself focusing on is the sacrifice itself rather than the resurrection that comes to follow. I think that for me these past few years I have relied on a variety of sources of entertainment or pleasures to cope with the isolation and pain that we are feeling as a society. Admittedly, when I reflect on my joke, I realize that I am not ready for Lent due to the hardships of the past few years but rather because of my affection for the good things of this world. I have given them greater importance than what they deserve in my inability to cope well. Even though I do not worship my streaming services or food and drink, God wants freedom for me that cannot be gained when I am held back in an inverted affection for these things.

In the First Reading, Moses says, “Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom. If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin on you today, loving him, and walking in his ways, and keeping his commandments, statutes, and decrees…” Moses continues to describe that life and goodness come from fidelity to God and pain and sorrow come from turning away to ‘adore and serve other gods.’ In our day and age, not too many of us are tempted to carve a statue and worship it. However, God still wants our affection and love and our use of the things in this world in the right order. He does not want us to be bound by the affection that creates a need for the things of this world. Admittedly, when I examine my thinking patterns, my ability to listen and be empathetic is usually limited when I have a nagging need or desire to be doing my own thing that ‘makes me happy.’ 

So as we move through Lent, I want to encourage myself and you to look at how we sacrifice and what we sacrifice, with hope in the Lord for a new life and new freedom. I want to leave you with the last bit of the Gospel to reflect on what your cross is and what you need to deny yourself of. Not for the sake of denying yourself but for the sake of new life in Jesus Christ. 

“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself

and take up his cross daily and follow me.

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,

but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.

What profit is there for one to gain the whole world

yet lose or forfeit himself?”

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Featured Image Credit: Tima Miroshnichenko, https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-shot-of-a-person-holding-a-cross-pendant-5206048/

Arthur Richardson is married to his wonderful wife, Gabby Richardson. They will be married for two years this January! Most of his work experience is in ministry. He was a retreat missionary in Wisconsin for two years and a youth minister for three years. He is now the Web Project Manager here at Diocesan, and loves it!