This week's Bible lesson contains a familiar statement that has been illumined in a new way for me. I just love it when that happens. The Bible is so amazing. Layers and layers of meaning that continue to inspire and guide us in practical ways.
Here is the sentence that lit up for me in a new way. "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me" (Luke 9:23) . Three steps to take on our spiritual journey. Many times when I have read this first one, deny himself, I took that as a sort of withholding of something, a sense of doing without. But this week I am applying that in a new way; set aside the material view of myself, deny that self. Deny reality to those things that are not a part of my true identity. Balance that out with affirmations of what is really true about me instead.
The second one, take up your cross daily, always seemed to indicate accepting something as a 'cross to be borne'....but...here is the insight that really lifted that one. In ancient times many of the people were nomads, no fixed building as home, traveling with tents. This phrase can also be interpreted as 'take up your tent peg'. They held their tents in place with ropes tied to a cross-shaped peg. In the morning, they would pull those out of the ground as they prepared to move forward. How about making a commitment to 'pull up your tent peg', be ready to move away from what is holding you back or tying you down.
And that 'follow me'. When I was little the snows could get pretty deep during our New Jersey winters. My dad would lead the way down the sidewalk and we would literally follow in his footsteps. How comforting to think the Our Father in heaven is doing that for me today. Clearing the path. Showing me what steps are safe to take.
So today I will resolve to deny those limiting claims about myself and affirm instead my loving, loveable, and lovely reflecting of God, good. I will take up my 'tent peg' and expect to grow today as I move forward through prayer. And in moving forward, I will follow the Master in healing work.
Not a bad way to start the day.
Go in peace with your tent peg.