As a teacher, I got used to carrying things in the back of my car pertaining to teaching: books, materials for science experiments, math manipulatives, etc. This wasn’t uncommon or strange, in fact after school you could often find a switch going on from one teacher’s car to another teacher’s as materials were shared back and forth.
As a seminarian, I have gotten used to carrying books, snacks and changes of clothes in my journey to and from school every week. This was not unusual, in fact, if you didn’t have a coat, scarf or another pair of shoes, there was probably another seminarian who could help you out.
This week, I am literally carrying a cross in the back of my car in preparation to lead our Ash Wednesday services at church. It is interesting, isn’t it, that carrying this cross in my life marks the transition of my life into ministry. Don’t get me wrong I am sure that my car will still hold books, blazer, an extra pair of shoes, as well.
But the brunt of my work as minister is to carry the burden of the cross and its meaning in order that I might communicate the message and hope of the cross to my congregation. I’ve only traveled a short way with this cross and yet I can already tell that it will at times impede my sight so that there is nothing else I can see and that it will overlap into every hospital room, funeral home, and worship service I drive to. This cross can transform people’s lives, but we can’t forget the suffering it brought on.
This cross, this call to ministry, has changed my life.