Over the past several Palm Sundays, I have had the pleasure of portraying a character similar to Simon of Cyrene, carrying Jesus’ heavy wooden cross. Unlike the huge timbers that the condemned were forced to carry in 1st Century Judea, the cross we use is not heavy. I have to pretend to struggle, fumble, and otherwise strain to carry the cross from the back of our Sanctuary to the Altar.
Something special grips me as I’m lumbering down the aisle every time. While our choir or praise band is performing a beautiful, sometimes sad hymn, I can’t help but feel moved by the experience. The overwhelming feelings of anguish, humiliation, and pain that Jesus Christ must have endured during his long trek up Calvary comes to mind.
This year, we were blessed with a true God moment during the reenactment. As I had passed the first few pews at the back of our Sanctuary, I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye. A friend in our congregation who had never seen this display before, jumped to his feet to help me with the “heavy” cross. His wife grabbed him and urged him to sit down, that I was actually OK. I later found out that his young son was pleading with his dad to help me because I was clearly struggling.
What an expression of brotherly love! How great it was to see someone offer to help a friend in need. Imagine what this world would be like if we all shared in carrying each other’s burdens. We all share in the weight of that heavy wooden cross, shouldn’t we all share in carrying it too?