Cross Word Puzzles
Recently, I have joined the ranks of crossword enthusiasts or “cruciverbalist”. (Cruci is Latin for Cross and Verbum means word.) Since I canceled cable TV, my brain needs an alternative to game shows like Jeopardy. The morning mental exercise consists of accessing words in the dusty recesses of my mind’s filing cabinet. I may mutter a few cross words to myself as the computer puzzle stumps me. Thankfully, the program I use gives me hints and fills in the blanks. It’s my saving grace.
Cross Word Puzzles take a different form in Christian Churches this time of year. As we continue through Lenten lectionary reading, words of Jesus are read and discussed. Some we remember from the past, other words seem different, or they have new meaning. What does Jesus mean when he says, “take up your cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34, Matt. 16: 25; Luke 9:23)? It’s difficult to be a Christian today. Can you imagine what it meant to follow Jesus in the 1st century? For disciples and apostles, it meant death. For us, it may be an inconvenience or an unpopular choice. Would you lose friends or social opportunities? Does following Christ’s teaching mean losing your job, your family, or your life? About ten years ago, a member of my congregation told me she refused to work the Sunday morning shift. She almost lost her job. She was willing to take the chance. Cross words, angry words were not exchanged. That manager understood and at least for a year, the member didn’t start her work shift until after noon. I don’t know if that would happen today.
What does it mean to “take up your cross and follow Christ” today? It is a puzzle that is a challenge for each of us to consider. Have a blessed and meaningful Lent, Pastor Deb
Post Script: “On the cross Jesus forgave those who crucified him. On the cross, he provided his mother with a loving guardian and son (John)”