Jesus called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”Mark 8:34
What Is the Shape of Your Cross?
Take up your cross, our savior said, and follow me. But not all crosses are voluntary. Some we would choose, but others are given to us, not requested: The cross of stress or mental illness, of a hurting loved one; the cross of being born in the wrong place, of the wrong color skin, of abuse at the hands of another. Some crosses we can leave by the side of the road, and should, moving on, as best we can. Others are glued to our shoulders. All we can do is bear them with grace and courage. Not all crosses are taken up. Some crosses are given. But we serve Him best who bear His mild yoke, the poet said. What is the shape of your cross? Did you choose it? Can you bear it? Should you? Is it the cross that your loving God would have you take up? Or is there another? Take up your cross, he said, and then he did, taking all that is broken and hurting in our world and placing it on his broad, faithful, dying shoulders. The shape of his cross, like the shape of his Father's love, full of the grace that sets our hearts free. His cross, our yoke, so gentle and humble, offering rest for our weary souls, rest for our weary souls.
The poet mentioned is John Milton, and the mild yoke is from his sonnet, “When I Consider How My Life Is Spent” which can be read here: Bearing Our Mild Yoke.