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Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Look at this image.  What do you notice immediately? Now look more closely. Now what captures your attention?  The rough stone walls?  The crudely carved wood of the cross? What do you see now?

Reflect.  Although still early in Holy Week, the Collect once again draws our attention to the Cross, the destination we would all likely prefer to avoid.  Yet one that is unavoidable. We remember that crucifixion preceded Christ’s “entry into glory.”  We see the cross often.  Sometimes in a holy place.  At other times as part of jewelry or even tattoos that likely have no spiritual or religious significance for the wearer.  As you look at this cross, consider what it means for you.

Act.  Today you will likely see a cross somewhere.  When you do, think about what the cross meant to the contemporaries of Jesus, and what it has come to mean to us.  For some, a symbol of love and faith, for others, sadly, a sign of oppression and hatred.  Today do one small act of compassion to demonstrate the love that the Cross means to followers of the Jesus Movement.

Thanks for taking part in New and Contrite Hearts. Your comments are very welcome—let others know what you saw and experienced. Until next time, may you have a most blessed Lent.

Music: “Ambient Sonata”  /Album:  Ambient Sonata  /Artist: Dee Yan-Key

Image:   “Altar Cross, St. Jerome’s Cave” /Place: Bethlehem, The Holy Land  /Photographer: Jon Shematek