Bread – Crosses

May 11, 2015


Readings for Monday, May 11, 2015, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Deut. 8:1-10; James 1:1-15; Luke 9:18-27; Psalms 77, 79, 80

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It is Monday and everything in our reading today points toward the crosses we must bear this week. The question is not whether we will bear them, but how. Will we bear them in pain, suffering, and anger toward God or will we bear them in joy, love, and gratitude to God?

Deuteronomy points out that God may save us from our particular prison but He may also let us wander in the wilderness for a long time before we see the promised land. He will be there, but the road will be hot and dusty, and we will be driven to our knees in radical dependence upon the bread (manna) and water which God provides. During this wilderness time, what we receive from God will never be what we want, but it will be what we need. In these circumstances, we should be full of joy, love, and gratitude because the Lord has told us why: “And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that He might humble you, testing you to know what is in your heart, whether you will keep His commandments or not….that He might make you know that man does live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord… For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land…And you shall eat and be full…” Deut. 8:2-3,7,10

And James reminds us that we shall meet trials and, because we have faith in Jesus, we are to meet these trials with joy. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness…Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation…Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life…” James 1:2-3,9,12

And, finally, from Jesus Himself we hear these words: “And He said to all, ‘If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoevere would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.” Luke 9:23-24

From Scripture today we see there are three ways crosses can come. God can cause us to go through them (Deut.), we may face them from the world simply because we are Christian (James), and we may choose to take it up on our own, because we are in fact followers of Christ.

But regardless of how we get it, a cross is a cross. It is heavy, tiring, difficult to handle, rough to the touch, and an instrument of torture and death. And, in fact, when we are carrying our particular crosses in dealing with our own sin, in dealing with our families, in dealing with the workplace, and in dealing with each other, we may in fact feel tortured, put upon, roughed up, and weighed down.

How will you choose today and this week to carry your cross(es). In joy, steadfastness, and hope, or in misery. The choice is ours. Come, Holy Spirit, and help us choose wisely.

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© 2015 GBF

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