Station Five: Simon of Cyrene takes up the Cross
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30
I carry a purse that is one big pit. In it are numerous items, including but not limited to, legos, mini cars, lipstick, grocery receipts, granola bars, pens, wallet, sunglasses, bobby pins, and who knows what else. I could go on, but you'd stop reading. I carry it everywhere. I rarely leave it behind. And I can't imagine in recent history women have acted much differently than me.
With men it is their wallet. My husband, Michael, is on the ultimate quest to find the perfect wallet. Such an item would have room for all his cards and cash, including his change. There would be no jangling while he walked and it would remain flat and thin and not bother him when he sits. According to him, he used to own this masterful wallet, but then foolishly threw it away when the stitching came undone. The regret still irks him.
Essentially purses, wallets, backpacks, fanny packs - They are all made for the same purpose. They are created to help us carry our stuff from one place to the next as we travel. Maybe we are only traveling to the park, or maybe we are traveling to Rwanda, but nonetheless, we are traveling somewhere and we need something to carry stuff. We could never go empty handed. Nope. Not practical. We might need something - like bobby pins or water bottles.
So my guess is that if Simon of Cyrene was coming in from the countryside for the day - on the same day Jesus happened to be crucified - he would have had a travel bag. It may have had his lunch in it. Maybe it was holding goods to be sold at market. Maybe, as legend sometimes implies, he was carrying eggs. Who knows. But if I could, I would bet on him at least having a bag. And that makes designing station number five fun. Because hanging on the cross on Good Friday will be my version of Simon's travel bag. And in it will be rocks. Lots of rocks. Little rocks, big rocks, smooth rocks, bumpy rocks. Lots and lots of rocks. Why? Because think about Simon taking up the cross. The whole station means for us to symbolically take up our own cross. We get nervous when we talk about really taking up our cross. It's heavy. Like a bag of rocks heavy. And if you look at it from an outsider's point of view, not a positive action to be taking. Who would reasonably agree to take up a bag full of rocks, who would take on this burden, this so called cross? Christians. Look in the bag. It's not just any rocks in there. Those are Ebenezer rocks. Rocks that mean, "Thus far the Lord has helped us." (I Samuel 7:12) Written on each rock is a verse from the bible. Some of God's many promises. Some of God's words of comfort. God's verses on each rock. This bag, this travel bag is not a heavy burden to those who know Him. It's powerful. But one has to know, to walk up, to look inside, to rifle through the bag, to see. Blessings are in there, heavy though they may seem. Blessings in that travel bag. Your bag. My bag. Simon's bag.
If you have a favorite verse from the bible that would go in your travel bag, what would it be? I would love to include it in Simon's.