“We begin our Lenten journey addressed by the remarkable assurance that the God who summons us in is the God who goes along with us.”
| Walter Brueggeman, A Way Other Than Our Own: Devotions for Lent
Where is Jesus going? To the cross. We know the way that he must take. We are so familiar with his steps to Calvary that we dismissed them as if three steps to salvation or seven steps to a sin- free life or twelve steps to get out of hell. Capitalism has fooled us and commercialized the cost of discipleship.
Attending church regularly does not school us. Sitting in a pew is not to be confused with sitting at Christ’s feet. “Learn of me. Don’t simply meet to talk about me as if I am not in the room: ‘Did you hear what Jesus did?’ Take up your cross and follow me. If everyday you are going the same way, talking to, learning from and helping the same people, you’ve lost me.” We’ve got to keep up. We must stay close. We cannot lose sight of him. “Wait, Jesus! I’m coming.”
Because it is not only easy but tempting to lose him. Because knowing the way and going his way are two very different things. Because it is easier to point the finger and say, “This way” than to actually submit to be pinned down to his way: the cross.
Where is Jesus going? He knows the way and still we are called to follow. No easy way and no way out, he wants us by his side, sharing in his suffering and his cross. One foot in front of the other, we climb Calvary’s hill together.
We know the way that he must take. Knowing is the painless part. No blood, no sweat, no tears, right? “I can agree to that. I can go along with that.” But if following Jesus is so simple, then why are we not closer to him? If following Jesus is so easy, then why are we not farther along? If we are so familiar with his steps, why do we struggle to find our footing? When Jesus says, “Follow me,” we raise our hands. But, what follows this confession is even more telling.