Sunday, March 20, 2016

“No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.”

Scripture Text: (PHIL 2:6-11)
Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

There is truth in the old adage, "No cross, no crown."  Suffering is necessary if we are to become the persons God meant us to be.  Suffering enables us to know ourselves and to get outside ourselves.  It matures us into the fullness of being human.  The type of suffering - the cross of our lives - is not what matters, but how we react to it.

Jesus did not shy away from his suffering.  His was a literal cross and he showed us how to deal with it;  take hold of it with both hands, grab it and wrestle with it.  Jesus did not accept his cross.  That is a passive attitude.  Jesus took his cross, embraced it because it was his Father's will for our salvation.

Today begins Holy Week and it starts as it ends, in triumph, to remind us that suffering is a journey with a goal, not a winding road that leads nowhere.  The end of the journey is resurrection, a new kind of existence.

The way to that new life is through the cross and tomb.  It is the road that Jesus traveled.  And he accompanies us along the way today - and every day of our lives.

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