Tag Archives: cross

Why I Wear a Cross, Visibly

A number of months ago, I decided to start wearing my cross in a visible manner. Meaning, for years I’ve worn one, but under my shirt. Now, at work I wear it outside my shirt, but under my tie. The rest of the time, it’s outside of whatever casual shirt I’m wearing that day.

There were a number of factors that went into this decision. I have a friend who until a few months ago worked mentoring men recently released from prison. He always wore his cross on his chest. I also read an article about clergy wearing the collar in public and how it consciously affects the person wearing it and the one the people who see clergy wearing one.

I also reflected on my own response to seeing people wearing a cross openly. Granted there are many situations where it is fairly obvious the cross isn’t intended as a display for religious reasons but as a fashion statement, a trinket worn with other symbols: a heart, a star, a yin and yang, and maybe a unicorn. In those times when I saw someone wearing one in a serious way, I did perceive that person differently. Was their behavior out of line in my mind, or were they kindhearted and gentle?

In the United States, and most “Western” countries generally, there does not exist a distinct method of dress for Christians. In more predominately Eastern Orthodox counties the women may be veiled or wear a head covering of some kind. Additionally, in predominately Muslim countries, the Christians generally live in close proximity to one another. They are then distinguished by how they don’t look and behave like the majority religion’s adherents.

So I tried wearing it outside my shirt. I discovered I am quite conscious of it. It triggers an immediate sense of “dear Lord help me!” My Lord and Savior died on a cross. Because of that atoning sacrifice, He was resurrected and ascended into heaven. He has called me to himself, relieved me of my burden of sin and set me free to live in and through Him. I am one of his ambassadors of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5 18-21). For me then, it focuses my mind on how I behave.

At the same time I am aware of a stereotype. The sneering, judgmental usually old person typecast in movies as the bigoted or hypocritical “christian”. Nearly always there’s a large cross either worn around the neck or placed someplace prominently in the home. This person is cold and callous. This person usually appears to have ice water running through their veins rather than any sort of life giving red blood. I certainly don’t want to be this person nor do I wish to be associated with them in anyone’s mind.

So, as I thought about it, I realized I have no control over how others see me. And just because I have a particular stereotype stuck in my head doesn’t mean others have the same imagery floating around in their skulls. So I went with wearing it on the outside. It helps me to live in a manner worthy of the gospel (Philippians 1:27). There is a phrase used commonly in Anglican circles, usually around whether to go to confession with a priest (I tried finding the origin of the phrase and was unsuccessful): “all may, some should, none must.” So, for me, this is a I should. If it stirs me this much to desire to act in a manner of the upward calling, then I shall.

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Day 30: It is finished

Today is the last day of my personal challenge to write 30 days in a row. A few days were nothing more than me phoning it in, pretty perfunctory really.  But overall I think I did a lot of writing. I do have one piece that’s nearly written that needs to be posted on a particular day to have the desired effect. I think you will know it when you see it. 

The title is two parts: one, I’m officially done with the challenge; two, the work of Christ is finished. Since today is Sunday, it’s fitting since it is a recalling of the Resurrection. Just before giving up His spirit he cried “It is finished.” The work of atonement was done. The Resurrection is the initial proof of the atoning sacrifice. 

When we come to Christ (and we only come because He called us) and we turn from our sin, we are forgiven. That forgiveness was purchased on that cross. 

There is a phrase “between the already and the not yet”. This is where we live. The work of Christ is done, the atonement finished, forgiveness is purchased. The kingdom of God is already, but not yet in its fullness. 

So I shouldn’t be striving to earn my forgiveness or impress God with my religiousosity, my Christian “bonafides”. I shouldn’t be praying to impress God, but because I’m leaning into Him for strength.  I don’t cross myself to prove to others my religiousness. No, I do it to remind myself to whom I belong. I was bought with a price. 

I don’t bow at name of Christ in the Nicene Creed because it want to show off, I do it to remind myself one day all knees will bow to him. Right now I choose to kneel. But only because He called me. It’s the end of me and the start of Him. I’m finished. 

Soli Deo Gloria 

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Between Two Criminals 

Last Sunday our church had a dramatic reading of Luke’s account of the trial and crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ (see scripture below). 

Maybe I’m a bit dull, but I never saw the simple choice that is presented in that recounting of the death of our Lord. Jesus, the God-man without stain or blemish, is raised on a cross between two criminals meeting their just end. 

One hurls insults and derision on Yeshua, (Jesus’s name in Hebrew.) He mocks him, in the same manner that the religious elite do, “save yourself”. Jesus is essentially mocked for claiming to be the person that He is. The Truth is mocked for claiming to be Truth. 

The other sees his own sin. He makes no excuses, no rationalizing of his actions. He sees his own inability to save himself. He sees the stark Truth, that Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ, is being killed unjustly. And he asks Jesus to remember him, to look with pity upon him. 

So the choice stands before us all. Will we acknowledge our sin, our crimes against a Holy and Righteous GOD or hurl insults at the Chosen One of God? There is none righteous, no not one. 

God have mercy on us. 

________________________

Luke 23: 32-43 (ESV) 
Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him.  And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.  And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!”  The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine  and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”  There was also an inscription over him,“This is the King of the Jews.”

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!”  But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?  And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”  And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

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