Thing is, there is no glory without the cross. Like the popular saying goes, no guts no glory! The Via Dolorosa of destinies is full of tears, sweat and blood just like the path Jesus trod on the way to his ultimate mission. However, as much as the cross is the bridge to the fulfillment of purpose, sometimes the cross gets too heavy. Even though purpose burns bright in our hearts and we can envision the trophies that come with the realization of our dreams, the stress becomes too much for our shoulders to bear. Irrespective of how hard working we are, how fixated on our goals, how laser focused, sometimes our knees buckle under the weight we carry and we fall face flat and cannot find it within ourselves to get up once again and slug it out, we do not have it in us to take any further step. At those times, even the weight that weighs down Atlas seems like a pillow case relative to ours. At this juncture, some people throw in the towel, it all ends there; dreams and aspirations expire in a puff of smoke.
Roman soldiers could not abide Israelites, hated them with a passion, so they meted out every kind of inhumane torture to a man who embodied all that Jews stood for since he had been called out as the King of the despised ones. Then, in a most baffling scenario, some of them for mercy’s sake or just for the sheer reason of not wanting a macabre circus that had barely started to stop mid-show, did something funny. They gave Jesus a reprieve, a break. The Son of Man with all his tenacity got to a point where his lungs caved in, where each breath taken was a torturous exercise and he collapsed under the weight of his cross. He was crushed by the same instrument that was going to lead to glorification (For example, tormented by the job that should give some amount of financial freedom or being harassed by the marriage that should give peace in a crazy world, or). His mission of purpose almost got truncated.
Then Simon of Cyrene gets on the scene, impelled by Roman soldiers to give Jesus relief from aching stress. We all need a brother-man like Simon of Cyrene! When life gets too stressful and we can’t bear any extra weight even as light as a feather’s, we need a helping shoulder that will give us a break from muscles strained almost to breaking point. Just as soldiers expressed some milk of human kindness, sometimes, to maintain our sanity, we need the challenges that snap at our heels to let up pressure for some time, so we can exhale in peace. Cyrene is said to be modern day Libya, means Simon was from a most unlikely place, unexpected quarters. I sure need me that too, help from places, from people I do not expect.
When David was on the lam from mad King Saul, Jonathan was his Simon of Cyrene. One other thing, Simon does not necessarily have to be a dude or a friend. Anything that helps to reduce our tension, be it ideas, opportunities, inspiration, miracles, a new medical breakthrough, a fresh start, a job, a visa, admission, business success, pregnancies, a husband or a wife, business partners, a doctor, a book, music, anything and anyone that enables us to take a few more steps without breaking down on life’s journey could be our Simon of Cyrene.
My prayer for us all is that whatever and whoever Simon of Cyrene might be for each of us, may we find them or they find us but most importantly, may we find the mercy and love of God.
COME UNTO ME ALL YE THAT LABOUR AND ARE HEAVILY LADEN AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST…..