Tuesday, March 24, 2009

take up my cross...

William Phillips Tilden takes up the Cross in today's leaflet. The Christian idea of taking up one's daily cross can easily turn into a manifestation of a "cult of suffering," the embracing of pain and sacrifice for its own sake (I must admit to a "monastic" side that has a "no pain no gain" idea of spirituality-its a very small side and getting smaller every day!)
The Boston Unitarians, as they do so often, place this central doctrine on a plane of practicality and deep meaningfulness (see as well James Walker's sermon here)

THE CROSS (Scripture Readings)

"AND. when he had called the people unto him with his disciples, also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?
And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples,
Let these sayings sink down into your ears.

Mark vlii. Luke Ix.

THE CROSS (Tilden's Meditation)

IT is the spirit of the Cross we want: the spirit of self- denial, of patience, of submission, and calm trust. In sickness the Cross pours the auroral light of immortality upon us in our pain. But health too has its crosses, poverty its burdens, wealth its trials, adversity its discouragements, prosperity its temptations, every phase of life its crosses to be borne bravely every day. These crosses are not to crucify us, but to crucify in us that which stands between us and our Best. God's love is seen in crosses as well as crowns. Christ took the cross of duty, soon learning that it led directly to the cross of suffering and death. Here his disciples find him suffering for them all, and rising into glory by the cross on which he was lifted. Every cord for the uplifting of the world has had this dark thread of pain twisted into it. The rugged path through which the world must rise is the path of sacrifice. The Cross of Christ becomes the blessed symbol of God's forgiving love for a world that needs Redemption."

"May these sayings sink down into our ears." Blessings

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