Show Me My Cross

On a hill overlooking Nagasaki, Japan there is a museum and monument that was built in 1962 to commemorate twenty-six Christian martyrs who were crucified on the hill in 1597.  

These martyrs, who were cruelly abused and then marched 480 miles from Kyoto to Nagasaki, arrived to see their crosses already erected and waiting for them.  Two of the condemned were young boys, one twelve and the other thirteen years old.  

The story goes, that upon arriving at the hill, one of the young believers simply said, "Show me my cross." To which, the other echoed, "Show me mine." 

These two young boys dramatically and tragically embodied the hard and challenging words that Jesus declared to his followers in the Gospel of Matthew: 
"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me."  
Artist Makoto Fujimura has noted that the words "Show me my cross," make up a statement that every Christian ought to be able to say to the world around them.  But, the act of placing our identity as a follower of Jesus above all else, however, is a task not many of us relish.  

Author Adele Ahlberg Calhoun writes: 
"In a world in which people want to do things their own way, [following Jesus] has fallen on hard times.
For far too many of us, our notions of what it means to be a Christian are wrapped up in living comfortably with our faith as opposed to dying to ourselves and following Jesus.  

We define ourselves as Christians through our careers, relationships, our political affiliation or even the kind of church we attend, and all of these things are prioritized ahead of our true identity.  

But who are we, really?  

We are a rag-tag band of broken misfits, rescued by grace, empowered by God's great love and stumbling after Jesus---a bunch of ragamuffins, who confidently declare with one unwavering voice, "Show me my cross."  

May you find ways today to let go of all of the things that keep you from truly "taking up your cross" to live in humility and deference to the Way of Jesus.  May you discover your true self in this act of self-denial.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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