“Deny yourself: take up your cross”

Say what?

This was all good, Jesus, until you got all morbid.

Suffering? Really?  And death?

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been listening

And, although I think you’re right,

let’s not go too far, here.

You’re walking a narrow path, my friend,

between Temple and Empire,

and you’ve always maintained the balance.

What changed? What do you know?

Deny ourselves? Shall we cut ourselves off from our people,

our families, our communities, our faith?

Shall we push change so hard that they ostracize us,

shun us, cut us from their body

so the infection cannot spread?

Take up our cross? Quite the image…

We are not criminals to be killed by slow torture:

What offense do we give the Empire

that they should crucify us, hang us up as examples?

I don’t get it, Jesus – are you asking us to die?

to make such a fuss that we must be silenced

ridiculed and humiliated?

Do we really have so much power?

Do they really have so much fear?

I guess we do get a pretty big crowd…

How many did we feed the other day?

Three thousand?  Five?  Somewhere in there.

And perhaps you can’t sit forever between a rock

and a hard place.

One or the other will give, eventually;

either to open up some space

or to squish whomever is between.

And, I suppose, better to prepare for the coming squish

better to expect it

to choose to live in that precarious space

In case, whatever happens,

squish or crack,

the space opens up to reveal God.