Forgetfulness Of The Cross

jesus-keep-me-near-the-cross1“If, then, Christ is so firmly planted in your heart, and if you are become an enemy to sin out of love and not fear, then henceforth the suffering of Christ, which began as a sacrament, may continue lifelong as an example.

When tribulation and sickness assail you, think how slight these are compared to the thorns and nails of Christ. 

If you are thwarted, remember how he was bound and dragged.

If pride besets you, see how the Lord was mocked and with robbers despised.

If unchastity incites your flesh, recall how his flesh was scourged, pierced, and smitten. 

If hate, envy, and vengeance tempt you, think how Christ for you and all his enemies interceded with tears, though he might rather have avenged himself. 

If you are afflicted and cannot have your way, take heart and say, ‘Why should I not suffer when my Lord sweat blood for very anguish?’

Astounding it is that the cross of Christ has so fallen into forgetfulness, for is it not forgetfulness of the cross when no one wishes to suffer but rather to enjoy himself and evade the cross?

You must personally experience suffering with Christ.  He suffered for your sake, and should you not suffer for his sake, as well as for your own?”

~ from “True Contemplation of the Cross” by Martin Luther in Jesus, Keep Me Near The Cross: Experiencing The Passion and Power of Easter, edited by Nancy Guthrie, pp. 12-13.

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