Monday, March 1, 2021 

As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross. (Matthew 27:32)

Look. Do you see him? Simon of Cyrene. You don’t have to look very hard. Not the man from the ancient Libyan city who darts in and out of frame within the passion narrative; compelled by the Romans to take up Jesus’ cross.

But rather, do you see the Simon Cyrene’s of the world, the countless, unsung, ubiquitous cross bearers? Those people who string a cross on a chain and wear it around their neck. Those churches who raise it from their heavenward steeples. The mark of oil we place upon an infant’s brow. Jesus said, “take up your cross,” and for all those who answer that clarion call, no matter the age or era, they too are a Simon of (Naperville, Chicago, Iowa, Germany, Nigeria, Palestine, et al…)

The Romans tried to make the cross a symbol of empire and injustice and cruelty, and for so many they succeeded. Why just ask the thousands who dotted the Appian Way after they dared to fight for their freedom from oppression.

And yet, the old woman who wears her cross, a family heirloom, to church every Sunday knows that because of the power of God, which can subvert even the mightiest of imperial intentions, what she wears, as Simon did so many years ago, is not a symbol of Rome but the place where God is found.

Peace in Christ,

Pr. Daniel Joyner Miller