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Mornings In The College Chapel by Francis Greenwood Peabody

LXVII SIMON OF CYRENE

Luke xxiii.20-26.

This Simon, the Cyrenian, was just a plain man, coming into town on his own business, and meeting at the gate this turbulent group surging out toward the place of crucifixion, with the malefactor in their midst. Suddenly Simon finds himself turned about in his own journey, swept back by the crowd with the cross of another man on his shoulder, and the humiliation forced upon him which there seemed no reason for him to bear.

How often that happens in many a life! You are going your own way, carrying your own load, and suddenly you are called on to take up some one else's burden, -- a strange cross, a home responsibility, a business duty; and you find yourself turned square round in the road you meant to go. Your plan of life is interrupted by no fault of your own, and you are summoned to bear an undeserved and unexpected cross.

{169}

And yet, how certain it is that this man of Cyrene came to look back on this interruption of his journey as the one thing he would not have missed? When others were remembering the wonderful career of Jesus, how often he must have said: |Yes, but I once had the unapproached privilege of bearing his cross for him. On one golden morning of my life I was permitted to share his suffering. I was called from all my own hopes and plans to take up this burden of another, and I did not let it drop. It seemed a grievous burden, but it has become my crowning joy. I did not know then, but I know now, that my day of humiliation was my day of highest blessedness.

|I think of the Cyrenian
Who crossed the city-gate,
When forth the stream was pouring
That bore thy cruel fate.

* * * *

|I ponder what within him
The thoughts that woke that day
As his unchosen burden
He bore that unsought way.

* * * *

|Yet, tempted he as we are!
O Lord, was thy cross mine?
Am I, like Simon, bearing
A burden that is thine?

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|Thou must have looked on Simon;
Turn, Lord, and look on me
Till I shall see and follow
And bear thy cross for Thee.|

Harriet Ware Hall, A Book for Friends, p.90. (Privately printed.) 1888.

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