Red-Cloth---Bible-2As the weather began to change this year (quite rapidly I must admit), I pulled my light jacket out of the closet and walked out the front door. I don’t fully remember what it was that I had to do that day, other than it was full of running from this place to another, maybe even a stop in a coffee shop for a little pick me up. However, it was in the middle of the craziness of the day that I reached into my left pocket and found something that I wasn’t expecting. It was a small piece of red cloth, cut in a strip. Now, to many, this will mean nothing. But for some, it will mean everything.

This piece of cloth represents those burdens, sins, and other things that I didn’t want to carry with me anymore. During a Palm Sunday celebration, I asked people to pick up a similar piece of cloth and nail it to a cross in the sanctuary. And then I proceeded to tell them that now that they have laid this at the foot of the cross, even nailing it to the cross, they should leave it there. Jesus has taken the burden and lightened the load. God has removed the sin as far as the East is to the West. It is all gone!

But now the hard part; leave it there. Don’t pick up that burden when you leave the cross. Don’t dwell on the sins of the past, God has forgiven them. It is so easy to pick up that feeling again and carry it around with you. Some of us treat it like a badge of honor, that we need to show others what we think defines us. So every year we make the journey to the cross, may our burdens down, and then pick them back up again. Sometimes we don’t even know that we are doing it.

When I reached into my pocket and pulled out that little reminder, I began to reflect on how many times I had unknowingly picked my burdens back up, only to find them when I least expected to. The past hurts were never too far away, which also means that they effected many of my everyday decisions. I wonder if that is also true for you. Are there some things you need to let go of? What needs to be left at the foot of the cross?

Will you commit to not picking it back up? Will you leave it there?