August 2000

 

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The cross has been an obvious symbol of Christianity since Christ was crucified on its tortuous beams.  We view it as a representation of religious affiliation; a separation; a distinction from other religious traditions.  It signals out those who profess a faith in Jesus the Christ.  But, the cross holds meaning for all of us: Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Pagans, Wiccans, and all those of any organized religious group.  The cross transcends barriers and holds a universal truth for all those who see it with open eyes and an open heart.

The crucifix is a prominent symbol, particularly within the Catholic church.  We see Jesus, bloody and wounded, sorrowfully hanging on the cross.  Nails pierce his hands and feet and a tragic lesion is apparent on his left side.  The image is graphic and painful.  It serves as a constant reminder of Jesus' suffering for our sins.  It keeps us mindful of his sacrifice; the lamb slain to take away the sins of the world.  This image of the cross invokes feelings of guilt, sadness, and remorse.  It tends to draw negative feelings.  Yes, the act of the crucifixion was negative and brutally real.  Yet, we need to stop dwelling on this image; stop being pessimistic and start viewing the sign of the cross with the attitude of hope in which it was meant to be viewed.

Jesus is no longer nailed to that tree.  That is the message of hope.  There is life after death.  Life does not come to an end.  The empty cross demonstrates this victory over adversity.  It represents everlasting life and resurrection.  The cross, for us, is a testament to love. 

 "God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life."            John 3:16

Are we willing to give up all that is dear to us?  Are we willing to surrender everything to God?  For only in completely trusting in our Creator and offering ourselves entirely to Him/Her can we fully experience God's grace in our lives.

"Therefore, brethren, I appeal to you, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.  This is your spiritual worship.  Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed in the newness of your mind.  Then, you will be able to know God's good, perfect and pleasing will for you."  Romans 12:1-2

In the cross we see the sacrifice of Christ as an example of the extent to which we must be willing to offer our own lives to God in order to receive God's benefits in the fullest measure.

The significance behind the sign of the cross is not limited to the Christ story.  The very structure of the cross bears great meaning.  The four branches represent stability.  The top of the cross points toward heaven, reminding us to connect to Divinity, as in extending the silver cord of the crown chakra and tapping into God-energy.  The bottom of the cross extends into the earth, signaling us to be firmly grounded; rooted in our faith.  The arms of the cross remind us of an embrace.  They signify our humanity and our interconnection with one another.  The very embrace protects us and nurtures us.  Therefore, we can view the sign of the cross as a means to ground, connect, and protect ourselves.  

The cross is no longer an instrument of torture nor a sign of death.  It served that purpose only to demonstrate its truer and fuller meaning.  The cross for us is a testament of love.  When I wear my necklace with the small, gold, dangling cross, I am not reminded of death, but of the promise of life.  I am reminded to put the cross before all I do, doing all in the name of unconditional and everlasting love.  

© 2000 Jennifer N. Ayers, Starr-Rhapsody Creations. No part of this article may be printed or copied without written consent from the author.

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