Many of the sermons I have heard about this station reflect on how we each have individual crosses to bear. Every struggle can be offered to god, everyone has a struggle they must bear. We are reminded at this station that God will not give us more than we can handle, even if it feels that way sometimes. All important themes, however, I want to focus on the context of Jesus’s acceptance of his cross. How he accepts having already struggled and knowing it will only continue.
If we think about the context before this event, Christ has been scorned by his people and wrongly accused in front of an angry crowd. He is so fearful of what is to come that he sweats blood while praying on Mount Olive. Christ is often depicted with perfect hair, clean skin and a pure, holy expression. I often forget that he looked for all purposes human. I invite us all to imagine him, sweating, tired from standing in the hot sun on trial, emotionally drained from turmoil with his heavenly father and sand in his hair from being shoved around by guards as he is offered a heavy wooden cross. The cross that will be his end (for a little while).
In our year of service I think we often find ourselves looking at our crosses, whether it is a job you dislike or a difficult client, an unforeseen health condition, or even a migraine at the end of a long day, already harried and too stressed. In my case, I often struggle with little things such as remembering to smile at my clients or act noticeably excited when they come in. In my mind, I am already doing so much at this job. I feel like I can’t do anymore.
I have to remind myself of tired, sweaty, nervous Jesus. The one who looks like me. The one who knows he is going to suffer and fall if he takes that cross. The one who takes it anyways and struggles through it just for us.
And then, as much as I don’t want to, I smile. If my Lord can trust that his Father will see him through his suffering, then I can go the extra mile. I can trust him too.
I think it is true to say that God will not give us a cross that is too heavy. Or, more accurately, he will help us through anything and everything because nothing is too hard, too heavy or too sweaty, nervous or too human of a struggle for Him. He will get us through because when we give in to our Peter’s, the little voices saying “ you dont have to suffer this. You can get out of it if you really want to” God will give us the courage to accept our cross anyways. Because carrying your cross does not have to look perfect, I think, as long as you accept it with god in your heart.
- Do you find it difficult to accept that Jesus must suffer and die?
- What are some of the things you think felt, knowing he was going to suffer and die?
- Do you find it difficult to accept that Jesus’s disciples must also go that road?
- What crosses are there in your life currently?
- How can you better carry those crosses?
- What grace you find in your cross? How can it help you grow in faith/as a person?
Prayer for Those Who Carry Their Cross
O my God, I thank you for this cross you have allowed me to carry. Please give me the strength and faith to persevere so that I may bring glory to your name while withstanding the burden of its weight. Thank you for offering me a share in your suffering. I know that you have always been, are now, and ever will be, at my side every step of the way. Thank you also for every “Simon” that you have sent to help me bear this cross.
I have prayed so often that this thorn in my flesh would be removed, but I trust that your grace is sufficient. Change my heart’s troubled cry of –“How long, O Lord”, into words of trust: “However long, O Lord”. May I seek only to do your will and to unite my sufferings with your passion. Help me to not get lost in my own self concerns, but may I find in these trials a way to greater virtue, a call to prayer and a path to trust in you alone. Permit me not to waste my pain, but to make of these struggles a sacrificial offering for others.
Lord, when I am weary and I fall, exhausted under the weight of this cross, please give me the courage to press on as you did. Lord Jesus, I embrace with love my cross, as a share in your own. By your grace, may I carry it all the way to the vision of your glory. I abandon myself totally to your will. Christ Jesus, I trust in you. Amen