God does not call all of us to leave our homes and families and live in a monastery on Mount Athos. But, he does call us to lead lives devoted to love, compassion, and prayer. This blog is an expression of my pursuit of faith.
Simon of Cyrene was compelled by the Roman guards to carry the cross for Jesus Christ in the synoptic Gospels. In Mark’s account, he was the father of Alexander and Rufus whom was to be greeted as a leader of the early church in Paul’s letter to the Romans. I believe Simon and his sons were black since Cyrene is in Africa and Simon must have stood out from the crowd of other Jews that were there to see Jesus on his way to Calvary. This view is supported further by the presence of dark-skinned Africans in the Greco-Roman world and that another Biblical character and church leader, Simeon (called Niger) was certainly black.
Simon must have indeed been spiritually compelled by our Lord and the Gospel as his own sons were active in a cosmopolitan and universal faith. Likewise, we must sense a compulsion to serve Jesus Christ and share our faith with one another beyond the narrow confines of race, class, sex, and nationality. Have a regular, daily discipline of worship through out the day every day. Practice the faith with those outside of your usual religious circles. Live in honesty, modesty, and simplicity.