We sometimes forget the extremity of Jesus’ language. For Jesus, the cross is hard and cruel. It was not an easy thing to carry. For Jesus, the cross was the place of his rejection and death. It is to this place that Jesus bids us to follow. Is it any wonder, then, that the cross is hard reality in our lives? We feel it viscerally pressing against us. The cross upsets our lives. What is more, taking up our cross means we may need to walk with it for a while. This can be involve walking a difficult and sometimes lonely path. Yet despite all of this, taking up our cross is an act of radical hope.