ARTICLE FOR CHURCH NEWSPAPERS ~ JUNE 2016
~ 1st May 2016 ~
'Take up your Cross
and Follow Me...'
– by Julia Beacroft
I'M NOT REALLY a morning person. One of the things that I have a particular aversion to is setting an alarm. Being rudely awakened by the shrill tones and buzzing of my mobile phone always makes me feel more like groaning and going back to sleep than getting up!
In fact my list of pet hates is fairly extensive. Cleaning the windows is certainly high on it. Ironing is another contender. And then there are those situations which I try to avoid like the plague. Confrontation, finding myself totally alone in alien surroundings and attempting to live up to others expectations, prominently feature in my catalogue of dislikes or personal ‘crosses’.
Yet I’m sure that I’m no different from lots of other people. Many of us feel the same way. Their ‘hate lists’ may vary, but they usually have one nevertheless. It doesn’t really matter whether we detest cleaning the windows or cleaning the oven, or whether we hate to feel alone or we dislike being the centre of attention.
What does matter is that each of us feels challenged and uncomfortable about various aspects of our day-to-day lifestyles.
At this year’s Chrism Mass in Plymouth, our Bishop Mark O’Toole gave a reminder that each and every one of us has an invitation to follow the Cross. We are called to participate and share with our Lord Jesus Christ in his journey to Calvary. Not only that, we were given some salient advice: that the Cross we’d like to carry is rarely the one that we’re given.
None of us want to be reminded of those personal crosses which we have to bear. Yet the reality is that in doing so, we are following the way of the Lord. Some of us will inevitably try to run away
from pain, suffering and especially our individual pet hates. But, with God’s grace and mercy we can overcome our fear and aversion, and become fruitful members of our communities.
JOY CAME LATER
So recently, when my alarm went off and I faced the prospect of a fifteen minute walk to the church, followed by a one and a quarter hour bus drive to Plymouth Cathedral, I was not exactly filled with joy. Yet I can assure you that joy came later at that wonderful and moving Chrism Mass.
So whether our ‘crosses’ are trifling such as being allergic to mornings or are more serious such as illness, we can face them by following Jesus’s way of the Cross. Christ suffered and died for us. Best that we don’t forget it. (ENDS – 425 words)