“As they led him [Jesus] away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him.” Luke 23:26-27 NRSV
As Jesus carried his cross through the streets of Jerusalem, the sad fact is, life carried on. Life didn’t stop to ponder the significance of it all. It was a normal day, with yet another man carrying his cross beam through the streets up to Golgotha. This was life for the Jews of Jerusalem at that time. The Romans did what they wanted and when they wanted. The people of Jerusalem had little say in the matter. This was how criminals were treated, how rebellions were squashed.
But not all rebellion can be killed by violence. Love finds a way. The “God is love” has time and patience on His side.
Many towns and villages across the UK held a walk of witness yesterday. As I followed the man carrying the cross through the streets, with my friends from the local Anglican, Roman Catholic and Reformed churches, I remember that less than sixty years ago, this could not have happened. Each church would have held its own walk. Why? Four hundred years prior, we would have been calling each other heretics, smashing each other’s idols, and trying to burn each other at the stake.
Thank God times have changed. In this community each church hosts a Lenten study group, encouraging people from the different churches to look at God’s Word together. They also meet at key times throughout the year to celebrate together.
Today we meet for special days, but my prayer is one day we will meet on the “normal days”. That worshipping God together, working together to share His love with others – this will be just a normal day in the life of the Church.
With God’s help, we are on our way. Just got to keep following the man carrying the cross.