June 29, 2019

June 29, 2019

June 29, 2019
Luke 9: 21-27
by David Harr
Retired Clergy of Scenic South District

“If anyone wants to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” V. 23

Cross bearing is a moment by moment matter in my life. The Spirit of God leads my cross bearing, and it becomes a lifestyle issue. My first act of taking up the cross of Christ for the day happens around 6:30 a.m.  I journal as I read scripture, and I have my morning devotions and prayer time.  In the Summer my early morning cross bearing leads me to my screened in back porch.  Our porch is surrounded by a large dogwood.  I feel almost cocooned in the shade of this tree.  I settle into an oversized wooden porch swing.  My quiet time always leads me to the needs of people.  Cross bearing on the porch results in my returning to my “to do list” which is conveniently positioned next to my Keurig.  This is where I add names to my contact list for the day.  By the time I am into my 3rd cup of coffee the map of the day for crosses to bear is complete.

A little over two years ago I had major cancer surgery.  My cross bearing never involved my cancer.  Cross bearing to me is always other centered.  For a time I was limited to how much I could be in crowds.  One of my first Sundays back at church I was standing in the Narthex.  At the time I would not have called what I was doing a prelude to cross bearing.  As I stood in that beautiful open space a man walked into the church. This was  Fred’s (name changed) first time to church following his wife’s death. I offered to sit with him.  Fred and I had been sitting on the back pew for about 5 minutes when he turned to me and said, “David, I don’t think I can do this.” I listened.  We sat there with the sounds of worship surrounding us.  I  consider it an act of God that I standing in the Narthex that Sunday.  I am grateful that cross bearing is empowered by the Spirit of an ever present loving God, and ultimately I cannot place it into some convenient plan.

Jesus said, “But I truly tell you there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Kingdom of God.” Luke 9:27   On a Sunday in our church when I was standing in the Narthex I saw God’s Kingdom walk into the building. We often encounter God’s Kingdom when we may feel we are least prepared to receive it.  God’s Spirit equips us to take up the Cross even if it is sitting on the back pew at church with a suffering friend in a shared silence.  Thanks be to God.