People of its day would shutter with fear at the Roman execution cross. It was a harsh physical reality of brutality and death. Today, Romans would roll over in their graves if they knew that Christians wore the cross as jewelry. It would be like modern day man wanting to wear electric chair jewelry. Yet today for Christians, it’s a sign of solitary and remembrance of what Christ did for us. With His death, He brought mankind redemption and eternal life. The cross in today’s culture has lost its significance in many ways. Easter may bring it’s meaning to our forefront once a year, but what about the rest of the year? Maybe it’s time to revive its meaning in your life?
Here are two things to keep its meaning relevant as you wear a cross or perhaps have one tattooed on your body.
It’s a symbol of solidarity. Today we see ribbons of different colors pinned on coats, rubber bracelets worn, or flags for various organizations and groups who want the world to recognize them. The Christian church is known for the cross. But we need to remember that the design of the cross has special meaning. The vertical line rises up from the ground – from mankind to God as it reaches toward Heaven. And the horizontal line of the cross, joined together with the vertical line, stretches out as if to circle the globe with the arms of Jesus spread wide. His arms that surround and connect us all as His beloved and redeemed Kingdom. We’re connected globally as a united Church. When there are bombings, beheadings, and children washed up on shores, we grieve. When our neighbor is suffering, or friends are in pain, we grieve. God gave His son, Jesus Christ, to be nailed to us with Himself. When we accept Him into our lives He envelops our being and it’s His Spirit that lives in us as we nail ourselves to that cross with Him. Whenever you start to criticize the Church, remember you’re criticizing your global brothers and sisters. Whenever you refuse to assist and support you are turning your back on God’s beloved. Before you lash out in disdain and criticism next, rub that cross around your neck and remember who you are in Him.
It’s a symbol of remembrance. When we see or wear the cross, we remember Jesus who suffered and died a horrific death so that we might have life. And in that suffering, He beckons us to walk and bring Hope to those who suffer today. Disaster, death, and pain are all around, and as Christians, God calls us to care. The world is broken and we’re here to endure within that brokenness until He comes again. We’re to be co-suffers with each other. The cross is a symbol of the joy that we share in that co-suffering with each other and with God. We aren’t alone – ever but are a united body caring deeply for each other. We mourn, lament, and hold up the arms of those who suffer. As Christ laid down His life for us, so too are we to lay down our lives. Let the cross remind you that it’s all about giving sacrificially. When we do, joy abounds and the outstretched arms of Jesus surround us with His healing love in the midst of the suffering and it baffles and astounds the world.
The cross is no longer harsh and disdained but it’s a symbol of endurance, peace, and unfathomable joy for the global church. Cherish it dearly. Become a new cross wearing member. Re-member yourself into the Church of God and what it stands for as a Christian.
Remember and re-member.