When Ivo Andric was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1961, the committee cited his epic novel The Bridge on the Drina as reason enough for the award. The Bridge on the Drina is historical fiction. It traces the history of what we once knew as Yugoslavia and the various civilizations that have risen and fallen there. The bridge became both the centerpiece and the symbol of the great events that have occurred in that tragic land.

In the same way, the cross has become both the centerpiece and the symbol of Christianity. Of course, Christianity is about much more than a cross, but the cross is a useful vehicle to encapsulate so much of our faith, and a useful tool to explain and illuminate the whole religion. As an old hymn says, "All the light of sacred story gathers 'round its head sublime."