Religious contentment is the enemy of the spiritual life always. The biographies of the saints teach that the way to spiritual greatness has always been through much suffering and inward pain. The phrase, “the way of the cross,” though it has come in certain circles to denote something very beautiful, even enjoyable, still means to the real Christian what it has always meant, the way of rejection and loss. No one ever enjoyed a cross, just as no one ever enjoyed a gallows.—A.W.Tozer
Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.Matthew 10:38
Not worthy. Anyone who is not beaten, bruised and bloodied in this life….is not worthy. Now there is something to consider. How often do we base our ‘worthiness’ to partake of the table of the Lord, to share in His Kingdom, to minister to his Body, on things like, past sin, current failings, poor choices, lack of credentials, lack of affirmation, wrong color, shape, size, gender. Here it would seem the qualifications have nothing to do with accomplishments or lack thereof, and having everything to do with a choice to live a pierced life. To make the choice to pick up the rejection and loss and carry it with faith to towards the one who bore it all. To follow the lead of the shepherd of the cross even if it means, as it did for the 21 Christians who faced the gallows of the Islamic knife recently, to lay our very life down in the following. As I begin this Lenten season, I am looking at my hands…are they smooth? Or do I have splinters from the carrying?