People of the Cross: a late night reflection
I remember around this time last year, when I first learned that ISIS was beheading Christians. I was in the process of moving from Texas to Pennsylvania, and we were at a gas station outside of Knoxville when my dad returned from inside. He stood there, outside my car, and he told me that people were losing their heads because they confessed Christ. I wasn’t the same after that. I would sit up late at night, staring at the walls of my new house, and I just couldn’t make sense of it. I would read the articles and look at the pictures and cry nearly every day, but I couldn’t seem to wrap my mind around the fact that this was actually happening.
Fast forward a year. There is still no peace in the Middle East, but it dominates the headlines less and less these days. I sometimes go days, even weeks, without thinking about it. And this bothers me. Because even when I can’t get my mind around, I want these things to be in my mind, and in my heart too, you know. I don’t want to ever forget these things, even when I feel totally weak and helpless and am still trying to make sense of my own life.
It’s summer now, but I remember back in February of this year, when it was so cold in Pennsylvania that the wind chill reached negative sixteen. I was working outside that week, and I got a sinus infection as a result, but I kept plowing ahead as best I could. I remember one night, when I crawled into my warm bed after a long day of work, and I couldn’t help but think of those spending the night on the streets of my city. I was sick, but at least I was safe, sheltered from the arctic air of the Great Northeast. And I thought of the group of Egyptian Coptic Christians who had recently been killed for their faith. I thought of how they died singing on that beach, and as I lay there on my bed I heard myself say aloud, “God, I want to love You like that!”
We are all people of the cross, but we certainly do not live the same day-to-day experiences.