Local reverend says to take up your cross

With preparing for Easter, the Rev. Becky Sunday, of St. Paul United Church of Christ, says people at the foot of Jesus’ cross wanted the Savior to prove He was a king.

Sunday addressed worshippers Wednesday at the last Lenten Luncheon on “If You are the King of the Jews, Save Yourself.”

“So this is the seventh week that we have come together to stand at the foot of the cross,” Sunday said during her meditation. “We stood at the cross listening to words that others spoke to Jesus. Words of soldiers that were standing nearby. The words of those who had authority, ‘If you really are a king, then do something for yourself.’ ”

While He was hanging on the cross, people wanted Jesus to prove He was a king — they did not understand what type of king.

“We know from countless scriptures that the Jews were indeed waiting for a king,” Sunday said. “They prayed, waiting and then prayed some more.”

The people prayed and waited for the one, a king, who would come to defeat their enemies on the battlefield and bring victory and freedom.

“Our scripture today speaks to expectations of the world,” Sunday said.

Sunday brought a palm to display during her meditation, a palm which she received during Palm Sunday worship at St. Paul United Church of Christ this past Sunday.

She talked about the reading from her church service on Sunday and of how the people were excited and waved their branches in the air when Jesus came to the gates of the city.

“They were waiting to hear, ‘Take up your swords and follow me,’ from Jesus,” Sunday said. “But Jesus did not say that, did he? But he did say something else.”

As the world was waiting for Jesus to say ‘take up your swords,’ he instead told the people to take up their crosses.

“Jesus said to take up your cross and follow me, because this is the kind of king I came to be,” Sunday said.

As Sunday was telling the congregation at St. Joseph Catholic Church, she was folding her branch to form a cross.

“We are called to follow Christ and to be leaders in the world,” Sunday said.

As Sunday was finishing up her meditation, she asked, “How will we define our success?

“Will we define our success the way the world does by how much power we have over others, or by how much stronger we are than the weak?” Sunday said. “Or will we define success like Christ did? How well we love Jesus. How willingly we serve and how faithfully we follow.”

“Oh, how the world would be a better place,” Sunday said, “if we didn’t take up our swords — but our crosses. Take up your cross and follow the king.”