It is not very often that Unorganized Territory takes a religious tone. It is not often that I feel driven to talk about my faith. I am kind of a quiet Christian.
I don’t feel that I have the knowledge or expertise to offer a homily. I leave that to the “professionals”— the wonderful cadre of ministerium members who offer insight and inspiration to News-Herald readers each week in our Spiritual Reflections.
It has been a pleasure getting to know the shepherds of our community churches as they take their turn at the “church column.” Every month we see a new face on the column and hear a new voice. Every month I’m inspired by the different interpretations offered of that old, old story.
So I am content to read the spiritual reflections and write about other things, such as politics—local or national, family—kids or grandkids, wildlife—deer or rabbits or some other topic. I tend to keep my thoughts about God to myself.
But occasionally I question whether I should be a quiet Christian or if I should use this bully pulpit to share the peace and strength I gain from prayer and faith in God. I thought about weighing in with my opinion on God and heaven and the afterlife during the spate of atheist versus Christian letters last year, but I didn’t.
However, taking part in the Community Good Friday Cross Walk last week brought the question to mind again.
The Cross Walk is a wonderful tradition. I love that friends and neighbors from nearly all of our North Shore churches take part. It’s amazing that participants come from a variety of faiths, ages, and circumstances to walk together from church to church, offering prayers for each congregation. I am so thankful that on this one day, our community sets aside its political and religious differences and walks together as one.
Unfortunately, I don’t participate in the Cross Walk as a quiet Christian, walking thoughtfully, meditating on the meaning of following the cross.
No, I’m dashing ahead to get a picture of the cross bearer coming down the hill. I’m scrambling onto retaining walls or landscape rocks to get a better angle for a photo. I’m standing off to the side snapping pictures during the prayers. So I’m perhaps not paying as much attention to the sacred words as I should.
But somehow God used the event to get through to me anyway. As I balance atop a pile of rocks to get the best angle, I struggle with finding the focal point for the picture. I want to capture the essence of the event. I hold the shutter halfway down in preparation of taking the perfect photo. I slowly scan the crowd looking for the front of the procession. As I press the shutter, I think to myself, “Focus on the cross.”
Focus on the cross…
I think of the first Good Friday, of Jesus, beaten and bloody, carrying the cross through the streets of Jerusalem. What would my role be, if I were there at that first Good Friday?
Would I be there as a member of the press? Recording the torment of the innocent man judged guilty by the mob? Documenting the action on papyrus for the weekly news?
Would I be a member of the mob, swept up in the madness that released Barabas and called for the crucifixion of an innocent man?
Would I feel empathy for Christ’s struggle? Would I help carry the cross? Would I offer a sip of water? Would I follow the carpenter, the teacher, the Prince of Peace?
I’m fortunate that I didn’t have to make that decision. But I can make the decision that I will speak up and let people know that I am a follower of Christ. I won’t do it every week. I’ll leave the spiritual reflections to the professionals.
But I will try to focus on the cross.
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This is my commandment, that ye
love one another.
Jesus, John 15:12