As part of my continuing education, I decided that I would stay with friends. Sleeping on couches isn’t half bad, plus the church saves some dollars as I crash with friends. It’s a win-win, but that’s not what my meditation is about this week.

As a part of staying with a buddy, I went to check out the church at which he serves. Beautiful sanctuary and altar, and all the wonderful stuff you’d expect of any Lutheran church. However, above the altar is this magnificent ‘larger-than-life’ wooden cross suspended from cables. It’s pretty much right above where he stands serving communion. It’s also quite large. Did I mention that on this cross are these spikes, almost like spear points shooting in every direction – and its right above his head?

And then the thought can begin to creep into your head. What if those cables were to let go? What if that cross were to swing down with all those sharp spikes and what would happen to him or me or any of us as we are standing there?

Now, I am pretty sure that cross is firmly anchored up there, or at least for my friend’s sake, I hope that it is. But I also know that wherever we serve God, whether it is at the communion table or out in the fields and the world, there is a risk in serving God. There may not be literal spikes above us, but serving God (and in loving God with all your heart, mind, and soul and your neighbor as yourself), there is risk.

It’s a risk because as we get to echo the love of God to our neighbor, they may treat us like garbage. Sounds like a spike to me. We may give our money, and our time, and talent, and the people we serve may not even turn around to tell you thanks. And you may even get picked on for being naïve, ignorant, and superstitious when you follow your faith. There are so many spikes we can run across.

I also know that God loves us to death – and that when God calls us as Christians, we are called to be a risk-taking people. We can lay it all on the line for the sake of God and for the sake of showing that love to our neighbor. We stand under the cross and it is by the cross that we live, and it is under the cross we risk, not for our own sake but for our God’s and for our neighbors. And so my wonderment for you is, how do we get to be a risk-taking people of God this week and for the weeks to come?