“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9: 23
One summer in New York, the staff requested a Passion Walk be included into the afternoon programming. They wanted to help campers live the story. Once permission was granted, the staff became extremely excited about the production. They assigned parts and planned costumes. The leaders mapped out the best places on site to stage the various elements of the story.
We began in the camp garden, where Jesus was arrested while his disciples slept. The trial was held on the basketball court. When Jesus was found guilty, they stripped him down and gave him a cross to carry. The Chapel of Mission was located in a very secluded place on a hill. It seemed a natural place to stage the actual crucifixion. We planted the cross and put our Jesus character on it, tying his hands and feet in place of nails. A short worship followed, then we all left in silence and headed to dinner.
It worked amazingly well, with one exception. No one was assigned the job of untying Jesus from the cross. It wasn’t until dinner was over and we were well into our evening activities that someone noticed “Jesus” was missing. A couple of staff went back to the chapel and sure enough there was Jesus on the cross. We had completely forgotten about him.
I feel as though that Passion Walk is reflective of our modern Easter. We, people and congregations, love gathering for the big show. We are inspired by the energy of a large worship gathering. But, once Easter is done, we forget Jesus on the cross. This is not a criticism intended to guilt people into worship or change. I just wonder if we are all forgetting the enduring passion of the whole event beyond one day.
We live in a culture designed to deny denying. Our time is spent either working for what we can afford or getting depressed about what we cannot. Regardless, the objects we buy often seem incapable of filling the deep emptiness of our lives.
The answer is not as simple as stopping buying things. This will not cure your spiritual hunger. Neither will suffering for the sake of Christ. It’s about following. Following is about inviting Jesus into the concrete parts of your life. It’s nothing more than opening your heart to live in grace, mercy and love.
Click to Read: Luke 9: 23-26
- How do you understand my saying, we forget Jesus on the cross?
- When was a time you encountered the “passion” of the Easter story?
- How did that passion influence your daily living?
- What does it mean to you to follow Jesus?
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