Bear Your Cross As You Wait for the Crown

On Sunday Tom and I returned to the Oasis Contemporary Service at Wesley United Methodist Church.  The service was a great blessing to me.  We sang a couple of familiar worship songs and the sermon was good.  But one song, in particular, sticks with me this week.  “O Come to the Altar” by Elevation Worship was a new song to me, and it felt like most other worship songs – easy to sing and slightly repetitive.  The lyrics were touching but nothing special.  Until the last line of the song.  “Bear your cross as you wait for the crown.  Tell the world of the treasure you found.”  That last line gripped me and has held me since.
When I was a pastor, I often felt like I was bearing the cross.  Being a pastor is really hard.  You walk with people through the toughest times in their lives.  I sat with people as the doctor told them a diagnosis of cancer.  I sang with families around the bed of a loved one who was dying.  There were days when I felt like I couldn’t handle any more bad news.
But being a pastor also allowed me to carry Jesus to people at times of their deepest need.  When they were hurting and broken and searching for answers.  I often fell short with the answers, but I could witness to the love of Jesus Christ for them no matter what the circumstances.  I was privileged to be the pastor but inadequate in the face of the need.
“O Come to the Altar” speaks to all of that.  The video on YouTube is a wonderful rendition, with baptism shots during the praise sections of the song.  The video reminds me of the sheer joy I felt as a pastor when someone came to a new knowledge of Jesus Christ in their lives.  Jesus Christ truly represents new life, resurrection!
My life is easier now – and less rewarding.  I struggle to find places to minister. I pray daily that my relationships with guests, rangers, and other volunteers in the National Parks will be Spirit-blessed.  Still a servant of Christ, I continue to search for ways to serve.  “Bear your cross as you wait for the crown.  Tell the world of the treasure you found.”
Here are the full lyrics of “O Come to the Altar.”  Take time to listen to it if you do not already know it.
Are you hurting and broken within?
Overwhelmed by the weight of your sin?
Jesus is calling.
Have you come to the end of yourself
Do you thirst for a drink from the well?
Jesus is calling.
O come to the altar
The Father’s arms are open wide.
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ.
Leave behind your regrets and mistakes
Come today there’s no reason to wait
Jesus is calling.
Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy
From the ashes a new life is born
Jesus is calling.
Oh what a savior!
Isn’t He wonderful?
Sing hallelujah, Christ is risen!
Bow down before Him
For He is Lord of all
Sing Hallelujah, Christ is risen!
Bear your cross as you wait for the crown.
Tell the world of the treasure you found.