before the cross

Like Peter, we flee from and deny the cross — if we actually understand what it means. It is not freeing us from past mistakes in order to continue guilt-free in our usual pursuits. The cross is a stopping place for assertions of dominance and identity, especially forms of religious identity that promote isolation and exclusion and perceptions of superiority. The cross pushes against the notion of God himself, and as such pushes against forms of community that seek identity in projecting God’s authority through religious or societal institutions.

We don’t just put our problems or frustrations or sins before the cross. The cross takes our whole person– our fears and concerns as well as our strengths and hopes.

Much easier to compartmentalize it, make it a burden for others, wear it as a symbol.

To take up the cross? To let go currying favor, or keeping up the status quo, or refuse the frenzy? Rome provides safety and financial security. The religious leaders give validation and positions of influence. The zealots have a loud and clear voice about helping the people.

Take up the cross? Let go of those promises and temptations?

How does someone do that?

Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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