Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Not How, But Why

So I've been praying about how to "carry my Cross" in the real world... Jesus carried real lumber through the streets of Jerusalem that fateful Friday morning. He had endured an emotional evening, a night without sleep, hours of interrogation, scourging, mocking & beating. Both scripture & Tradition tell us He even needed help to complete the short trek to Calvary.

While I was considering these events, for some reason, the story of Jacob's wrestling match came to mind. The account can be found in Genesis 32:22-32. Jacob wrestled with "a man" throughout the night & wouldn't let him go until he blessed him. He wanted to know who this guy was. The man instead countered with a question: "Why do you want to know My Name?". In the end, He blessed Jacob & left him limping into the sunrise. We later find out the mysterious opponent was none other than God Himself.

I'm under the impression that carrying the Cross in the real world has something to do with the struggle to hold on- to believe & to live out that faith in the midst of everything going on around us. Apparently, we're supposed to be doing this every day... this dying "daily" as Paul implies in 1 Corinthians 15:31... this being "crucified with Christ" as he says in Galatians 2:19-20.  But if Jesus already went before us, why are we still called to take up our cross & follow Him to a kind of perpetual Calvary? Christ died for the world, but who is my "death" for?

There are no crowds shouting at me, no soldiers whipping me to get moving... I'm not hauling literal wood on my back. I'm on my own recognizance here. Why did Jacob wrestle with God that night? To get a blessing? Or was it something else? What's going to motivate me to hold on, to carry my cross? Perhaps Jesus would counter that question with His own: "Why do you want to know My Name?".

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