Monday, June 20, 2005

Take up the cross

I'm re-reading Science and Health with my good friends at csdirectory.com, and we're in the chapter Atonement and Eucharist. This is bringing to mind many of the inspirations I've received over the years about Jesus' sacrifice, so wanted to share one today.

Mary Baker Eddy talks about the symbolism of the bread, wine, and cup: the bread is spiritual Truth, which we are to embody (eat); the wine is the inspiration of Love that fueled Jesus' sacrifice; the cup is the cross, or the earthly trials we all must face.

I've always thought of the cup as made out of paper. It's a paper cup. We get handed this earthly trial to learn from (get the inspiration from), and we're to drain it to the dregs (to get every bit of inspiration we can from it). But the earthly trial itself is not substantial or permanent. It has lived out its usefulness once we've drained it of inspiration. Then, we toss the cup. :)

We take up the cross, but we don't keep it. Each cross we take up leads to a resurrection of sorts, as we learn all we need to from it and are reborn spiritually. But then we lay down the cross; we're not required to carry it around any longer once it has served its purpose.

I was also just reading in a great book, We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, the well-known exchange the title character had with Julia S. Bartlett, one of her students. Bartlett, after being severely tested in her practice of Christian Science, reached a new insight about her own dependence on God. She wrote, "I remarked to Mrs. Eddy, 'We are commanded to take up our cross daily, but I am not doing so, for I do not see any to take up.' Her answer was, 'It is because it has ceased to be a cross.'"

This perspective has made me much more willing to take up the crosses in my life to begin with. However hard it might be to bear temporarily, the learning and inspiration are worth it. And God's great love allows me to lay down the cross when I've learned all I can.

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Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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