Earlier this week, I remember stepping into my car and moving the sunshade out of the way so that I could grab the ice scraper. I live in the Midwest, and I was about to knock 4 inches of snow off of my car, after it had been 75 degrees less than a week earlier.
I got to thinking about how quickly public opinion shifted on Jesus, from his triumphant entry into Jerusalem to being executed as a criminal less than a week later.
The motto of the Carthusian order is “Stat Crux Dum Volvitur Orbis”-the cross is steady while the world is turning. This motto takes on a little bit more meaning for me, now that I think about it on this Good Friday. The world can be a tumultuous place-studies are showing that Americans are more feeling more stressed than ever before. I think that oftentimes this stress arises from trying to dodge the cross. The difficulties that we are faced with are often many, but it has become a distinctly modern thing to view any and all pain as something to be avoided at all costs.
These temptations are obvious, and manifest themselves in so many ways. Amid the tumult of the world and the everyday things that happen to us though, there is Jesus. He embraces his cross. He goes so far as to say that if anyone wishes to follow him, that man must take up his cross daily and follow him. That doesn’t mean that we should go find a cross and pick it up-we will have crosses perfectly well without our seeking them out. But what it does mean is that when crosses arrive, we view them as something that God is asking us to carry for our salvation. God never asks us to carry these loads alone-he walks with us, bearing the load and guiding us.
The early church fathers would often compare the wood of the cross to a ladder that would take us to heaven. By accepting God’s will, even (especially) when it hurts a little bit, we see that God doesn’t desire our destruction, but rather that the little pieces of doubt, of selfishness, of pride, and of envy would be stripped away. By dying to ourselves and by willfully going to Calvary with our cross, we become disciples of Jesus-truly following in his footsteps.
After the horrors of Good Friday, we are promised Easter Sunday. The cross is steady while the world turns. Thanks be to God.