Take Uo Your Cross

CrossI saw the first colored leaves of the fall this morning. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by the changing seasons. Sunrise is later each morning. Labor Day weekend is here. And kids are heading back to school. Are you ready for those changes?

Our Bible story this week points to the changing season in Jesus’ ministry. Last week Peter proclaimed to Jesus, “You are the Messiah, Son of the living God!” That sounds exciting, like a high point of ministry. But immediately after Jesus tells his disciples what that actually means, “From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering…” Matthew 16:21-28.

Peter is not ready for that change. He claims it will never happen. Jesus knows the danger and challenge of doing God’s will. “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. “ Over the next weeks, our Bible stories are changing. They will continue to get harder and harder. Following Jesus does not stay in the glory of recognizing Jesus as God. Following Jesus means following into the pain, suffering and injustices of the world.

Last night at the campfire worship, we shared stories about the crosses we carry as we follow Jesus:
• The cross of walking alongside a grandparent as they suffered and died from cancer.
• The cross of changed career dreams.
• The cross of a call committee continuing to search for the right pastor and a congregation that waits.
• The cross of carrying someone else’s load on a backpacking trip because they could not carry it themselves.

What cross do you carry as you follow Jesus? Talk about this with a friend or family member. Then reflect on this quote by Sean McKnight from One Life: Jesus Calls We Follow.

“To follow Jesus means to follow Jesus
into a society where justice rules,
where love shapes everything.
To follow Jesus means to take us his dream and work for it.”

Check out a mother’s reflection about raising her white children under the cross of Ferguson. What do you think? http://practicingfamilies.com/2014/08/27/on-raising-three-white-boys-after-ferguson/