The power of the risen Jesus on an ordinary Monday.
It is the Monday after Easter Sunday has anything changed? If you went to church this weekend, you heard the message of the cross of Jesus and his empty tomb and how these two moments in history changed everything but did it change your Monday?
I have a house full of kids with sugar hangovers, one grumpy child with a bad cold and a couple of special needs boys who thrive best with structure, making days "off" hard in our home. After my two church services hearing about the cross and the risen King, I felt ready to run and carry my cross and follow Jesus where ever he said to go until he told me to go home and take up my cross on an ordinary Monday in very ordinary ways. When God has asked me to join him in big things I have spent months praying, studying scripture and preparing my heart for the cross, he asked me to bear, but it is in theevery day crosses that I struggle to not see as foolishness. I have always been the adventuring type, so God leading me to go on a trip to Haiti to tell witch doctors about Jesus was a cross not too hard to bear. I have always loved a challenge, so God asking me to raise my salary to work for a college ministry was a cross I felt up for as well. I love leading so when God said to start an orphan care ministry at my church I stepped up to the plate and grabbed my cross. When he said go and adopt a child from China with special needs, it was scary, but I mustered the strength and picked up that cross too. And when he led me to start mentoring teen mom's, I knew the time would be tight to make it work but that I had something to offer these girls, saying yes to this cross also. The world may have seen these crosses as foolish, a waste of time, resources, and youth but to me, I saw and felt the power of God and was ready and willing to follow him. But if I am honest on an ordinary Monday it is easy for me to call my cross foolishness and check it at the door. To fold the laundry without complaint, to discipline when I feel like letting it go, to engage my child instead of checking out, to let my child "help" me with a task instead of doing it efficiently myself, these are the crosses I find hardest to bear, the crosses that feel foolish to me.
If you struggle with the message of the cross feeling like foolishness, whether it is the big crosses that scare you the most or the little ordinary ones that cause you to struggle let us look to some men who had the same struggle, Jesus Disciples.
I think we often remember the part of the disciple's story where they left their nets and followed Jesus and this was a brave thing to do, but there were lots of moments where the disciples struggled to take up their cross. They complained when they were hungry even after they saw him feed thousands. Shoed away children Jesus wanted to bless. The doubted his decisions at many different points and argued over which of them was the greatest. They fell asleep when he asked them to pray and when he was arrested, tried and crucified all the disciples ran and hid, not one of them stayed by his side. They self-protected and preserved hid and denied knowing their teacher. This should have been the end of the story for the disciples; maybe they would have hung out a few more days together in Jerusalem and then slowly trickled out of the city, continuing to deny knowing him and attempt to slip back in their old positions as fishermen, doctor and tax collectors. Wondering how they could have been so foolish.
But we know that is not what happened. In fact, almost all twelve disciples were killed for their faith. What made the difference between the men who questioned, doubted, fled and denied Christ, who saw the cross as foolishness to those who picked up their crosses, some literally and suffered for Christ, seeing it as the power of God?
These men moved from being cowards to cross bearers because they saw Jesus alive, they saw the empty tomb, touched his scars and watch him ascend to the father! He didn't stay dead, and that made all the difference, and he sent his spirit to help them and this spirit told them a secret, "to lose their life was to save it and save their life was to lose it." They believed this secret so fully that they decided to know nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And this is what I want for myself on these ordinary Mondays. I want to see Jesus as ALIVE in my day to day! I want to feel the power of risen Jesus on an ordinary Monday just as I did when I helped a witch doctor burn all his witchcraft tools repenting and turning to Jesus, or as I got on the plane to bring my son home from China or when I prayed with a college student surrendering to Jesus. I want to see this power of the resurrection displayed in my heart and in my home on an ordinary Monday because the power given to me for these heavy crosses is the same power at my disposal for the little crosses, I only need to tap into it through the means of grace, prayer and God's word. I want to move from calling these little crosses foolish to being a woman who calls them the power of God. I want to move from coward to cross-bearer not only in the big cross moments of my life but in the ordinary Monday little crosses, losing my life to save it because he is risen on the Monday after Easter just as he is on Sunday.
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15