|The Way of the Cross
Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1603)
Koninklijk Museum Voor Schone Kunsten (Belgium)
Scripture Passage: Matthew 11: 28-30
28“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
In this Season of Lent, we are called to deepen our own walk with Christ. This means moving beyond what Christ does for us. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Christ does everything for us. But our relationship with Christ does not stop at that. God is more than some sort of divine vending machine. We are called to do more than worship the God who gives us everything; we are called to enter the Way of Christ itself, the Way of the Cross. It means experiencing all of Christ–the birth, the ministry, the life, the Passion, the crucifixion, the death, the Resurrection–on the deepest and most profound level. It means moving from being an observer to being a participant with Christ. It also means entering our own humanity at the deepest level. It means becoming real. Sadhu Sundar Singh says that “if we do not bear the cross of the Master, we will have to bear the cross of the world, with all of its earthly goods. Which cross have you taken up? Pause and consider.
Over the last few years, I have become more and more drawn into the Stations of the Cross, that 4th century devotional tool that helped pilgrims flocking to the Holy Land from all parts of the world to walk in the Way of Christ. It has become more than a way of prayer. It is real, full of the depth and breadth of human experience and emotion, full of the power to move one beyond oneself, full of Christ. These Stations, also called the “Way of the Cross”, the “Way of Sorrows”, the “Sorrowful Way”, and the “Via Dolorosa”, are a pilgrimage not just to the historical places of Jesus (because, truth be known, the places marked as stations in the streets of Jerusalem are really just good guesses) but to the Way to which we are called.
In this walk of faith, we are clear that we are called to worship and revere God, our Creator, the very Spirit that runs beneath us and at the same time courses through our veins. This is the God who is there just ahead of us, calling us forward, calling us home. This is our very source of gravity, that straight and perfect plumb-line that connects us to the Holy and the Sacred. And yet, in science, relative strength is measured not just with the vertical pull of gravitational force, but with the horizontal relationship to that force itself. And true horizontality, the strongest point, occurs at the intersection with the vertical. This Way that we walk with Christ, this horizontal side-by-side with Jesus gives meaning to our worship and reverence and draws it strength at that point.
So in the midst of our Lenten journey, remember that it is more than becoming a better person, more than developing a deeper relationship with God. It is about worshipping and walking, walking and worshipping. It is about entering the way of Christ. So in the midst of these writings, let us walk this Way of the Cross.
Grace and Peace,