Not able to make time and finish the last three posts with a conclusion, I read a quote on a different topic that I thought was worth sharing.
Followers of Jesus often talk about “carrying our cross”, and, the quote below argues, we often confuse what Jesus meant by that.We can mistakenly call every difficulty we go through as “our cross”, anything from our car not working to being annoyed with a co-worker is given a highly doubtful significance. In doing this we belittle the real sacrifice that Jesus calls his disciples to make, and are unable to make that sacrifice ourselves because of our lesser substitutes.
That’s not to say that God is not walking with us through the everyday ups and downs of life, but there is a distinction between this and “taking up our cross“. We can see this in Jesus’ life. He faced a multitude of difficulties in his life, but they were not all “carrying his cross”. Jesus carried his cross as the result of the kind of life He lived, and called his disciples to that same kind of life, which would result in the same kind of treatment. The quote below is from “The Politics of Jesus” by John Howard Yoder:
“The believer’s cross is no longer any and every kind of suffering, sickness, or tension, the bearing of which is demanded. The believer’s cross must be, like his Lord’s, the price of his social nonconformity. It is not, like sickness or catastrophe, an inexplicable, unpredictable suffering; it is the end of a path freely chosen after counting the cost. It is not, like Luther’s or Thomas Muntzer’s or Zinzerdorf’s or Kierkegaard’s cross or ‘Afechtung’, and inward wrestling of the sensitive soul with self and sin; it is the social reality of representing in an unwilling world the Order to come. The word “The servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me they will persecute you” is not a pastoral counsel to help with the ambiguities of life; it is a normative statement about the relation of our social obedience to the messianity of Jesus.
Representing as he did the divine order now at hand, accessible; renouncing as he did the legitimate use of violence and the accrediting of the existing authorities; renouncing as well the ritual purity of noninvolvement, his people will encounter in ways analogous to his own the hostility of the old order.”