Focus on a Cross?

Thursday, April 05, 2012 Posted by Debbie Legg

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Sometimes we see a crucifix.  Other times, a cross.  Whether Jesus is depicted on it or not, and no matter how beautifully you decorate it, a cross is still an agonizingly torturous method of execution. 

So why is a cross THE symbol of Christianity?   It doesn’t appear until the 4th century.  The early church didn’t use it.  In those days, crucifixions were commonplace.  Many were crucified, but only one came back from the dead.  THAT is what the earliest Christians celebrated. 

I absolutely believe we should remember Jesus’ body and blood, offered willingly for us.  I just want to be certain that our main focus is not his dying but his resurrecting.  With Lent we’ve spent almost forty days focused on suffering, both his and ours.  (Caffeine or chocolate, anyone?)  Compare that to the one day (and not even a whole day) we spend observing the greatest, most loving and miraculous event in all of history.  HE CAME BACK!  HE IS ALIVE!  Where is the party?  The week-long festival?   Next year, I want to observe forty days of Easter.

Better yet, I might follow this example from a recent email: 
Two days after Phyllis accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, she entered Edith’s hospital room.  “Do you know what day it is?” Edith asked Phyllis. 
“It’s Good Friday,” Phyllis answered. 
Edith said, “Oh, no, for you every day is Easter.  Happy Easter, Phyllis!”

What if we celebrated Easter every day, REALLY celebrated?  What if we stopped focusing on the sin and guilt and shame that was nailed to the cross and instead rejoiced in the forgiveness and freedom and new life that is ours because Jesus conquered death for us? 

What if, instead of a crucifix or a cross, we symbolized Christianity with an open tomb? Or an endless timeline?  Or re-popularize the ichthys fish or octagon from the first centuries? 

In the end, it’s not which symbol we choose that really matters.  What does matter is that we rejoice that the happy ending to Christ’s story is also the ending to our own.  “He arose! He arose!  Hallelujah!  Christ arose!”  

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