“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
The cross embodies both death and life. The cross is a symbol of the process of dying to ourselves—dying to malicious intentions, dying to unrighteous anger, dying to words of hatred and acts of violence, dying to all forms of abuse that are inflicted on others, dying to the many ways our presence brings death instead of life. In bearing the cross, we must remember that it is a metaphor of suffering—the suffering of those living in oppression. The cross is also a symbol of life. Jesus transformed a weapon of deadly violence into a symbol of life-giving hope—hope that miraculous life will arise from the grave.
To take up our cross is to take up the sufferings of our world in affliction. To take up our cross is to transform all forms of oppression as a banner of hope, redemption and life.
God, may I die to the things that bring death to the oppressed. May I live in the way that brings life to the oppressed.