‘The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.’ Then he said to them all, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?
Ever since I read Johann Tauler’s comment (14th century) I always remember it when I read this text. He said, “Jesus did not say, ‘Take up my cross,’ but ‘Take up your cross.’”
Let me quote Joko Beck, a zen master, on this subject, “I notice that people who have been practising [meditation] for some time begin to have a sense of humour about their burden. After all, the thought that life is a burden is only a concept. We’re simply doing what we’re doing, second by second by second. The measure of fruitful practice is that we feel life less as a burden and more as a joy. That does not mean there is no sadness, but the experience of sadness is exactly the joy. If we don’t find such a shift happening over time, then we haven't yet understood what practice is; the shift is a reliable barometer.”
The best example of this ‘shift’ is in John’s gospel: John loved to play on the paradox of ‘raised up’: Jesus would be lifted up in shame on the cross, but that lifting up in shame is also a lifting up in glory.
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