Today was one of new experiences for me. For the first time I took part in a walk of witness in my local area and for the first time I carried a cross. Over the course of an hour a good number of us from at least three churches walked, sang, read scripture and prayed.
I’m not sure how effective the witness bit was in the sense that it was a residential area and no one in particular seemed to be paying much attention but it was witness – we were outside not inside the church for a start. And not everything needs to be effective to be important.
It was also an uncomfortable experience, even though I don’t think anyone was watching – how strange to be carrying a cross, how strange to be singing, praying and just being there. I found when I paused to search my soul that I was a bit embarrassed, somewhat uncomfortable and awkward.
I volunteered to carry the cross because I knew that carrying those heavy pieces of wood even for a short distance would put paid to the feelings of discomfort, awkwardness and embarrassment. As I carried the cross I reflected that a man who changed my life forever carried a cross in great pain, in great shame and as a great display for all to see. Bleeding, naked and reviled Jesus carried his cross. But because I know Jesus is alive not dead, I asked him for forgiveness for being so easily ashamed.
As I thought about this some of the words from a song which always touches me deeply came to mind,
“You asked your Son to carry this
The heavy cross our weight of sin
I love you Lord, I worship you
Hope which was lost, now stands renewed
I give my life to honour this
The love of Christ, the saviour king”
The wonder of Good Friday is precisely this, that the Father would ask the Son to die in the place of awkward, uncomfortable and embarrassed, sinful, shameful people so that those same awkward, uncomfortable and embarrassed, sinful, shameful people would have the opportunity of being friends not foes, family not strangers, saints not sinners. This is the love of Christ our Saviour King.