Cross Bears–October 7th, 2011

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Must Jesus bear the cross alone,

And all the world go free?

No, there’s a cross for everyone

And there’s a cross for me.

An old hymn, which, by the way, on some Sunday mornings sounds like an old hum. Or maybe even a ho-hum.

The first time I head that song, I was about fifteen years old and the preacher was talking about “denying yourself” and “taking up your cross and following Jesus.” He was a little light on the specifics. There was just an understanding that it was going to be pretty painful, pretty strong and pretty involved. It left a somber cloud in the room that kind of rained on everybody’s enthusiasm.

I think this “bearing the cross” philosophy has become a part of our culture whether you’re religious or not. Very few people do their work jubilantly. There are more sighs than shouts of rejoicing in life and there is an air of dissatisfaction instead of a fresh breeze of inspiration.

So I would like to offer a different insight on this issue: BEWARE OF THE CROSS BEARS—those people who’ve been “bearin’ their cross” so long that they lumber around grouchy, hibernating in their caves as long as possible. When nastiness becomes the symbol of maturity, pretending it is gravity and seriousness, then I think you have to be careful not to be gobbled up by all the bears. I just don’t think that Jesus intended us to find the most miserable profile as we express the somberness of our journey.

For after all, denying yourself is not pretending that you don’t exist—otherwise, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” would mean that we treat people like they are as dead as we feel inside. No—denying yourself is refusing to accept your upbringing as the final authority for your future success while locking yourself into a personality which has proven to be ineffective. It’s allowing yourself to be “born again.”

I know we live in a generation intent on insisting that our birth from the womb has pre-determined all of our faculties, attributes and even talents—but Jesus does recommend a second birth, where we deny some of our more useless emotions and traits in favor of profiles that push us forward instead of holding us back. Now, I’m sure the intricacies of that process are beyond this humble writer’s ability to communicate. That’s why salvation is so personal—one person’s cross is another person’s firewood.

So I’m not suggesting that we all have to go out and become completely different people from what our culture or our mom and dad told us we should be, but when something doesn’t work for you, denying it as part of your life is just a smart move. It makes for happy people instead of “cross bearers.”

For I will tell you, the people I see who are “bearin’ that cross” would rather eat me alive than give me the time of day. After all, there are no Yogi Bears or Boo-Boos, just looking for picnic baskets. Bears have teeth; bears have claws—and they have somewhat of an unpleasant disposition. And bears spend too much time hiding away from the cold instead of learning how to adapt.

So when you get around those people who are “bearin’ their cross,” be careful. My experience is, they end up being CROSS BEARS, and although your intentions may be good, we probably should follow the philosophy of the National Park Service: Don’t feed the bears.

***************

Jonathan sings “Let”

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

 

Published in: on October 7, 2011 at 12:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

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