When I was little I remember watching my dad act in a Christmas pageant at church. First of all, let’s just pause at the thought of my dad acting in a Christmas play, but he did. He would’ve won a TBN Oscar for his portrayal of Simon of Cyrene because he did such a fabulous job. He didn’t even flinch when I grinned and waved at him as he carried the cross down the red-carpeted aisle. Bravo, Daddy. Bravo!
Today I went to see the movie Son of God. Jesus had perfect teeth and a British robotic accent that was slightly breathy, like Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone (if you are under the age of 30, google it), but other than that I really liked it. I sat there with my friend Chastin (whose “allergies” acted up often throughout the movie), and just soaked it in. I was dry-eyed until I saw Jesus struggling in agony to carry his cross. Jesus. The only amazing, loving, pure, perfect man to ever sojourn on this earth. Struggling. Physical pain? Check. Emotional pain? Check. Spiritual pain? Check. Mental pain? Check.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
He endured this and the whole time there was joy set before Him. Jesus asks us to take up our cross and follow him. So that brings me back to Simon of Cyrene. Catholics are familiar with Simon and in most churches there is a picture depicting this scene (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stations_of_the_Cross
“Why did this scene move me so much today vs. times past?”
There is something powerful about WITHNESS, shouldering the burden, walking with someone in the most difficult point of the journey when they cannot carry the load on their own. It’s the friend who says, “Hey, you rest. Let me carry this for a bit. You are going to need your energy for the journey, but for these few moments, let me help.”
Jesus was bleeding on his back and sides and a prickly crown was crushing into his head and he had to carry approximately 300 lbs.
It was too much to do alone. That last mile, someone helped. I am crying thinking about Simon and what it must have been like to look back on that time and to realize he walked with God to his death.
To walk the last steps with Jesus, carrying the object that would ultimately become a sign of salvation to the world – what was that like?
No suffering I will ever endure will ever come close to what Jesus endured. However, because he suffered he cares about our suffering and provides us with “Simon’s” along with way.
My Simons come in the form of sisters, heart friends, family, my boss, and my beloved church. Who are the Simon’s in your life? Often we do not fully experience a Simon moment because we do not want to be that vulnerable and exposed. IT is painful to be vulnerable and exposed, but to allow someone to enter in to that raw place…..there’s joy. We need joy on this journey of ours.
Thank you to all my Simons. You know who you are.