Speaking about cross-bearing, United Methodist Pastor and leader Steven Manskar has been presenting a strong series on atonement. Yesterday’s blog started out, “Jesus tells those who want to be his followers to “take up your cross daily.”
Christian life is cross-bearing because it is centered in God’s love revealed in Jesus’ death on the cross. The cross we are to take up is daily obedience to his teachings summarized in Matthew 22:37-40:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
God has given us the grace and means needed to obey Jesus. Love for God and those whom God loves take the form of the cross. Loving God with all the heart, soul, and mind comprises the vertical beam. The means of grace Wesley called “works of piety” are the practices that enable us to participate in the relationship God desires for us. These practices are how we are “at-one” with God.
The link to the full blog is at the top of this page.
He further notes, “Wesley encapsulates these means of grace in Rules 1 and 2 of the General Rules:
“It is therefore expected of all who continue therein that they should continue to evidence their desire for salvation,
First, By doing no harm, by avoiding evil in every kind—especially that which is most generally practiced. …
Secondly, By doing good, by being in every kind merciful after their power, as they have opportunity doing good of every possible sort and as far as possible to all men …
The cross represents God’s love, which is the nature and name of the Triune God. This love, this grace, makes obedience to Jesus teachings possible. This cross-bearing life draws us closer to God and closer to one another.