Luke 23:26 – And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus. (KJV)
It was just a little three-and-a-half inch by one-and-a-half inch article halfway down page five in the morning newspaper: "Catholics To Hold Cross High".
It stated that as part of World Youth Day Celebrations, a twelve-foot-high cross was going to arrive at the church, and, after a service, be carried the many blocks down to a park on the waterfront. I vaguely remembered having read something about the cross a year or more before.
What, I wondered, would it look like? Who was going to carry it? How many?
Having been down-island the night before, the cross was just coming out of its carrying case when I arrived to a small but enthusiastic crowd, encompassing all ages. Slowly more people came, some writing inscriptions on the case.
Close to noon, a group of young teens lifted up the cross and carried it into the church, where we could all share in a service, before beginning its trek to the waterfront.
It is a wonderful thing to see teens openly, and beyond being embarrassed by their peers, "take up the cross" and carry it, surrounded by throngs of faithful followers. It thrusts one's thoughts back to a time when Christ's cross was carried. The mood would have been much different. There would have been fear, anger, sorrow.
The experience is one I am glad not to have missed — and all from a small three-and-a-half inch by one-and-a-half inch article halfway down page five in the morning newspaper.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for those times when we are guided to do something, to see something, to experience something, which we'd not even planned to do. Help us to learn to listen to that small voice that takes us to You when we least expect it — and maybe need it most — for You know us so well, our coming in and our going out. You know our needs even when we do not. For this we offer our thanks, in Your name. Amen.