Wineskins Archive

December 10, 2013

Gladly The Cross I’d Bear (Apr 2012)

Filed under: — @ 11:18 am and

By Keith Brenton

We sing a lot of grand old hymns about our willingness to bear our cross and follow Jesus, and these are just a few. Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone? recognizes that “there’s a cross for everyone / and there’s a cross for me;” Nearer My God to Thee pledges fidelity “e’en though it be a cross / that raiseth me.”

I’ll Never Forsake My Lord was written by Damon Snoddy, who attended the church I grew up in — Fountain Square Church of Christ in Indianapolis. It makes the promise in spite of the opening line “Though my cross may be hard to bear.”

Keep Thou My Way may be less known than its author Fanny J. Crosby and its line that sparked the old joke about a child picturing a strabismus-plagued ursine beast: “Gladly the Cross I’d Bear.”

But I wonder if, like that misunderstanding child, we sing these songs without an accurate picture of what Jesus means when He says:

“Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” ~ Matthew 10:38

… “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” ~ Matthew 16:24b; Mark 8:34b

… “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” ~ Luke 9:23b

“And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” ~ Luke 14:27

We sing about it a lot.

Do we understand what He means by it?

And if we did, would we take up our crosses and follow Him? Gladly?

As the Lenten season draws to a close with a focus on Easter, the cross and the tomb, the writers of New Wineskins will be looking at these questions and seeking honest answers.

You’re invited to join in the journey, a Via Dolorosa for the twenty-first century, and to find your own answers as well.

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