For the Christian, the cross is both a symbol of horror and hope. Our Lord Jesus died an excruciatingly painful and shameful death on the cross - drinking empty the cup of God's wrath. And the author of Hebrews reminds us that, though painful, it was with the expectation of future joy that Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, "endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb. 12:2).
This great symbol of the Christian faith has become less a token of hope and more a meaningless sign commercialized in jewelry, bumper stickers, cards, bookmarks - you name it! Calvin Miller refers to these as "celluloid crosses." He comments that: "Our world has literally gone 'cross crazy.' . . . We have literally 'crucified' the cross with overexposure! What does God expect of me in an age which undermines Jesus' sacrifice? I must cast off the cross as kitsch if I ever regain it as the rough bloody wood of Jesus' horror. The crucified Jesus was not a figure of silver hung on polished ebony. He was not a crucifix of cold, unfeeling metal, but a human being whose blood oozed out into the chilling winds of an April morning in the third decade of the first century. It is not what the Cross was to Jesus, but what it is to me that is so crucial" (Once Upon A Tree, p. 147).
When you think of the cross are you more inclined to conjure up images of gold and silver or that of Jesus' victory over death and sin?
-Derl G. Keefer, Preaching September/October 2002