One of the nicest things that anyone has ever done for me happened about forty-two years ago high above the Atlantic Ocean. I had been working for a pharmaceutical company in international information systems; and on one of my many trips to Europe, my boss decided to make the trip with me.
Because of his executive position, the company flew him first class wherever he went. I, on the other hand, as a 28-year-old computer programmer, was relegated to economy. But on this, our first time flying together, he chose to give up his first class seat and to keep me company in economy. Some people thought him foolish, but I deeply appreciated it as a gesture of kindness and friendship. It was a particular comfort to me as we hit turbulence.
Many times when I look at the cross, I think about that flight across the Atlantic and the meaning of friendship. I can see Jesus hanging on that cross in much the same way as I saw my old boss riding with me in economy. And it is a reminder to me that we are not alone; that God loves us so much that he chose to leave the comforts of first class behind; to step away from heaven; enter our time and space and ride with us through the turbulence and crosses of life.
Eventually, the life of every human being is overshadowed by a cross, probably many different crosses. It might be the loss of a loved one or abandonment or rejection. It might be poverty or illness or an incurable disease. And if not any of these things, eventually we all face death, the end of our earthly existence. In time, life brings each of us to the foot of the cross.
But, the message of the cross is hope. It tells us that we are not alone; that God is with us in the chaos and the darkness; he is present in the pain, the loss, the suffering; he is there at he center of the turbulence, the center of the cross. And it is this God who travels beside us through the turbulence and the crosses of life who eventually will lead each of us to the resurrection of Easter morning.
What an incredible friend!
As we move through this season of Lent, let us reflect on the times of turbulence we have safely come through, and let us rejoice and thank God for riding beside us and for being our friend.
Readers of this blog might enjoy these books by Deacon Lex. Both are available on Amazon.com:
Just to Follow My Friend: Experiencing God’s Presence in Everyday Life
The Gospel of You, The Gospel of Me: Making Christ Present in Everyday Life
Synchronicity as the Work of the Holy Spirit: Jungian Insights for Spiritual Direction and Pastoral Ministryhttp://www.amazon.com/Synchronicity-Work-Holy-Spirit-Spiritual/dp/1463518781/