For many centuries, the Cross has existed as a common item of decoration and adornment throughout all of Christendom, and particularly in Western Civilization which it birthed. In our modern era, it can be seen multiple times daily, both in private and across the public square. Often it is stylized and even decorated with jewels to embellish and beautify it.
In many ways, this is completely understandable. Bearing an outward similarity at first glance to the ancient Egyptian Anch, a trinket of good fortune from eight centuries prior to the Roman occupation of Judea, it was easily adopted to a presumably similar role. But in a world where real meaning in anything has at times been totally lost to the social trends of the day, and particularly in modern nihilistic culture where so much of life has descended into mindlessness, the irony of its usage on that basis is often completely lost.
The original cross was not only a weapon of execution, it was the means of death by slow, excruciating torture. In that, it far exceeded the ominous cruelty of a gallows or guillotine. Yet certainly, neither of those items are commonly recognizable as popular jewelry or the centerpieces of greeting cards and paintings. No amount of gilding or decoration could ever render them appealing or festive.
Nor is the Cross made desirable simply on the basis of the most noteworthy death it recalls. Try to imagine the impossibility of a stylized hanging noose on a ring or bracelet, intended as any warm reminder of the martyrdom of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, executed for his resistance to the Reich in 1945. Such an item would be rightly deemed dark and macabre, no matter how sanitized and ornate it might be.
Of course the Cross is the symbol of the death of the Savior, Jesus Christ. And on that basis it has held a deep significance among Believers for two thousand years. In modern America, and particularly since the madness of anti-Christian ideology has infected and overtaken the culture, it is frequently disdained as an emblem of “white European dominance” and even “Christian Nationalism.” But even prior to the advent of the twisted religion of Marx, it was despised and suppressed by any government that sought uncontested power over the thoughts and allegiances of the common person.
Yet it is just as inarguable that societies have prevailed and flourished, or sunk into squalor and oppression, based specifically on how they reflected the true meaning of the Cross, and the Faith it signified. No doubt some will contest this, on the grounds that not all who bore the Cross faithfully upheld the precepts of Christ. But that was the failure and infidelity of those who operated in such a duplicitous manner, and not the One to whom they falsely made claims of allegiance.
At this writing, we once again observe the events that gained such universal notoriety for the Cross. Were it not for the sacrificial death of Jesus on that coarse and pitiless Cross, it would have been no more noteworthy than the countless forms of brutal death created in the darkened souls of one cruel human being to be inflicted on another, throughout all of the gloom and hopelessness of human history.
Such an epithet might seal the fate of mankind, except that the Cross, and the agonizing end of that most innocent life it signifies, are only part of the message, and the ultimate act of love which God conveyed to the world through it. An obsession to suppress the remainder of that gift to humanity has been pervasive among every self-aggrandizing despot ever since, right up to the anti-Christian movements of the modern day. Those who demand absolute allegiance to their twisted and debasing agenda cannot tolerate any presence of goodness, truth, and redemption. So it was in ancient Judea, when “religious” leaders persuaded Roman governing officials to seal the tomb in which the body of Jesus was placed, after his crucifixion. They hoped to simply bury the evidence, and go back to “business as usual.” Some things never change!
Then came the New Day! Despite all their efforts, a power far greater than all of their malignancy prevailed. The stone blocking the entrance to the tomb was rolled away and Jesus arose from the dead, in an event that absolutely defined all of human history. Efforts to expunge that moment from humanity ever since have been vicious and relentless, but futile.
In this time of escalating fear and oppression, with every form of lunacy overtaking basic sense and reason, we must never lose sight of the Cross, and the One who carried it to the place of His death, to then overcome its sentence on Himself and humanity. When mournful followers went to the place of His burial that glorious morning, they were greeted with a message that has not ceased to resound in the hearts of those seeking Truth “He is not here; for He is risen, just as He said.”
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