Reflections on how Christians help each other to grow and mature in loving God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love their neighbor as themselves.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Tuesday in Holy Week

Tuesday in Holy Week

O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an
instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life:
Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly
suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior
Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

“For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18, NRSV).

The message of the cross is the unconditional, self-giving love of God for the world. This is indeed foolishness in a world that worships power, wealth, and security. The cross to which God calls those “who are being saved” is obedience to the teachings of Jesus Christ. He summarized his teachings in Mark 12:29-31

“The first is, ‘Hear O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

In these few lines Jesus describes the cross-shaped life of Christian faith. He makes clear that being his follower means much more than simply believing. Our believing must be lived out in loving God with all that we are and have and in loving those whom God loves, as God loves them. This is the cross that each Christian must learn to carry. The good news is that we don’t bear the cross alone and God provides the strength and the means for living this life of self-denial.

We don’t bear the cross alone because Christ calls us into community for mutual support and accountability. The means for living this cruciform life are the works of piety and works of mercy. These means of grace are the places where God promises to meet us. They are where we open ourselves to grace that has the power to heal our brokenness and form us into the persons God created us to be.

Steve Manskar


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