Simon From Cyrene
He is Risen! Happy Easter to you all!
What a strange Easter this is. Julie and I celebrated communion alone with each other. No kids or grandkids around, no Easter baskets or chocolate bunnies for us. Definitely, no dressing up in our Easter finest or church service with raised voices of Alleluias. At least I got dressed today and even put on clean jeans!
Since watching a Maundy Thursday service over Facebook live, acknowledging Jesus’s suffering on Good Friday, contemplating the mystery of the Harrowing of Hell, and now celebrating His glorious resurrection, I sense a most profound time in all our lives.
A story that has had a significant impact on me this Holy Week has been one of the shortest, but consistently told in all four of the Gospel stories—Simon from Cyrene.
“As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.” Matthew 27:32
A man who seemingly out of coincidence happened to be pulled into the greatest story ever told. A man passing by, minding his own business, is asked to help in one of the most significant moments in history. Simon…come, help this man who has been tortured and beaten, and now forced to carry the cross that He will be nailed to and crucified. You are asked to share in this man’s suffering.
In my walk of faith, I have so often prayed to feel Jesus’s presence and pictured in my mind what it would be like to have sat beside Him to share a meal, talk with Him, or even like the woman in need of healing, to reach out and simply touch the hem of his robe. And now I see Simon, one arm supporting Jesus and the other supporting the cross, fighting and suffering together. I imagine Jesus’s blood covering Simon.
As I scoured the drawings of Simon and Jesus together, the grief and suffering they shared were palpable. I find a part of me crying out, saying, “Yes, I want to walk with Him, be with Him, but no, I don’t know if I can do that role.” And yet, here it is, we, like Simon, are invited into suffering.
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:17
I believe we can all sense this collective suffering and grief the entire world feels. I can’t help but think of all the healthcare workers that are being called into action…come, help carry this cross.
I want to encourage you on this Easter Morning. There is an end to this suffering. There is hope. There is resurrection.
He has risen, indeed!
Stay safe and healthy…With love, Timothy