Avera Spiritual Care Department, Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center
The cross as example for spiritual care
A Human Body:?My Crucifix
A human body, in front of me, dead. All year long, before my morning eyes to remind me, remind me of the way life is.
A human body, on wood, nailed, hanging. A strange sight, always there, when I'm not to keep me straight about the way things are.
A human body, so cold and lifeless, dead. As alive a memory as ever there was to balance my seeing the horrors in a new light.
A human body, a mystery that sends life from death. Answer to my hopeless fear and pain to crack the window of my life with hope.
A human body, still alive, quietrejoicing with me.
Another life is mine in life and in death to make me courageous in the face of death or worse.
In this poem, Chaplain Richard Evers reveals that in and through the suffering Christ on Calvary's cross; we find hope, joy, meaning, and spiritual strength when we carry our own crosses of suffering, pain, or losses.
Interestingly, the Evangelist Luke records these Gospel directives from Christ himself: "If anyone desires to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me." (Luke 9:23)
As much as we may want to see the hand of God in nature's beautiful sunrises, people winning the lottery, or persons having successful jobs or wealthy lives; it is in the Cross of Christ and in bearing their own crosses that God himself chooses to reveal His compassionate heart to us.
Like us, Christ's disciples had this same problem with Jesus words foretelling the cross. We are told they didn't understand him, but I think they understood all too well. They were having problems with denial and rejection. They didn't want a cross of suffering; they wanted a crown of successful glory.
Yet, Christ Jesus calls us to carry our crosses. Why? The cross reveals that our compassionate Lord God comes to us in the midst of human weakness and suffering on Christ's Cross and in our own physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering. The message of the Cross says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." (II Corinthians 12:9)
As a result of our human nature we are tempted to respond negatively to a cross by saying to ourselves: "Why did this happen to me? Or "Did I do something evil or wrong to cause this? Or, when we begin to endure our physical, emotional, or spiritual cross-bearing it is often linked to our feelings of guilt, fear, anger, grief, shame and helplessness.
Thus, as we carry our own crosses, may we confidently sing: "When the woes of life overtake me, hopes deceive and fears annoy, never shall the Cross forsake me, Lo, it glows with peace and joy. Bane, and blessing, pain and pleasure by the Cross are sanctified; peace is there that knows no measure, joys that through all time abide." In the Cross of Christ I Glory" (CW 345)