Invitation to Prayer
The practice of paying attention really does take time. Most of us move so quickly that our surroundings become no more than the blurred scenery we fly past on our way to somewhere else. We pay attention to the speedometer, the wristwatch, the cell phone, the list of things to do, all of which feed our illusion that life is manageable. Meanwhile, none of them meets the first criterion for reverence, which is to remind us that we are not gods (Barbara Brown Taylor, An Altar in the World, 24).
The Psalm (Psalm 63:1-4)
O God, you are my God,
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
The Scripture Reading (Luke 23:26)
As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.
Carrying the cross of Jesus was unexpected and inconvenient for Simon. Having made pilgrimage to Jerusalem from North Africa, Simon was minding his own business, going about his religious duties. Religious observances are typically something we do according to a schedule – attend a service, go to temple. The cross of Jesus reorders our plans, demanding participation and not mere “observance.”
Has identifying with Jesus ever disturbed what you had planned?
Lord Jesus, I am often content to mind my own business and practice my religion. You call me to take up a cross and follow you. Guard me from mere observances that actually keep me distant from you. Prepare me for the unexpected and inconvenient as I seek to follow you. Amen.