Every Easter, many dazzlingly eloquent words are written and spoken about Christ‚Äôs ‚ÄúPassion‚ÄĚ ‚Äď a singular historical event, graphically portrayed in films like ‚ÄúThe Passion of the Christ,‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúJesus of Nazareth‚ÄĚ and others, including most recently the History Channel‚Äôs miniseries ‚ÄúThe Bible.‚ÄĚ That these screen depictions serve to powerfully rekindle many believers‚Äô gratitude for what Jesus endured for their sakes is undeniable. But I‚Äôve always wondered, how often does that appreciation for Christ‚Äôs sacrifice ignite a fire in the belly of believers to ‚Äútake up the cross‚ÄĚ themselves?
But first things first. What in the world does ‚Äútaking up your cross‚ÄĚ really mean?
In ages past, Christians dwelt a lot more on the concept of taking up the ‚Äúcross‚ÄĚ than they do these days. Today, the phrase ‚Äúit‚Äôs my cross to bear‚ÄĚ is usually a self-congratulatory reference to the fact that we have to put up with a...
"The Post Reformation pastors and theologians of the day, following the Reformers, abolished Easter, among other things. In June 1647, England Parliament, headed by the Puritans at Westminster, passed legislation abolishing Christmas and other holidays: ‚ÄúForasmuch as the feast of the nativity of Christ, Easter, Whitsuntide, and other festivals, commonly called holy-days, have been heretofore superstitiously used and observed; be it ordained, that the said feasts, and all other festivals, commonly called holy-days, be no longer observed as festivals; any law, statute, custom, constitution, or canon, to the contrary in anywise not withstanding.‚ÄĚ (Daniel Neal, The History of the Puritans (London, 1837; rpt. Minneapolis: Klock , p. 45)." (Dr C M McMahon)