Hilary and I were blessed to spend the weekend at the monastery. The first weekend of spring held temps in the 20’s and 30’s, but there was the promise of new life in the intense sunshine and the few bits of color found along the way.
There’s a trail through the forest at the monastery marked by crosses painted on the trees. It matters a bit more in the summer, when everything is lush, but it was still a fun scavenger hunt for Hilary to find the next cross around the bend. She kept running ahead calling, “Follow the crosses. Just follow the crosses!” I spent the entire weekend thinking about crosses.
On this, the third Sunday of Lent, the entire Church remembers the Cross. We’re halfway through the Fast, and our wise mother Church knows that we are perhaps starting to show signs of getting weary. So, we bring out the Cross and fall on our faces before it in Church. It is a reminder of what we’re striving for. Where we’re going. It’s a source of refreshment. A push and a motivation to make it through the next few weeks.
But the crosses don’t end with Lent. The crosses are everywhere. We each have our own personal set of crosses, and we carry them around daily. Sometimes we set them down when they’re too much, and then God sends someone to pick them up and help us carry them. Sometimes we avoid our crosses and hide from them, but they’re always there in the shadows…waiting. Sometimes we don’t see the beauty in the crosses, the shining majesty of the lessons learned on the hardest path.
We can’t get to Christ without our crosses. He didn’t hang on His, so we wouldn’t have to. He hung on His cross, so we wouldn’t have to fear ours. Carrying our cross is not easy. It’s hard and ugly and painful. But it’s also a refreshment. A little bit of color on a cold, spring day. The promise of life to come.
If we let ourselves see it, there’s a softness; a stillness; a peace in carrying our crosses. For the Christian life, as complex as it is, is simply about following the crosses. Just follow the crosses. You will find God there.