The Cross and the Paper lilies

One of the congregants at a church where I worshipped in 1975 was a very skilled crafter and created some beautiful paper Easter Lilies.  Some of the ladies of the church got together and stapled paper lilies onto a life-sized plywood cross, covering the entire cross.  The finished cross was beautiful and inspirational, a sight to behold.

These many years later, as I remember that Easter in 1975, I see things quite differently.  Back in 1975 I was in awe of a beautified and ‘sugar coated’ instrument of torture, an implement that tortured and killed Jesus, my Savior, Redeemer and Friend.

Back in 1975 I related the cross directly to Jesus Christ.  Now these many years later, I am able to separate Jesus from the symbol of the cross, and walk with Him in my life, instead of looking up at a Jesus in the throes of pain, a Jesus near death.

People wear crosses adorned with their birthstone.  Most Christian churches display crosses, often life-sized.  To many the cross has become synonymous with Jesus Himself.  But Jesus is not a cross.

The Second Commandment states:  “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.”  I wonder whether the cross qualifies as a graven image, or an idol?  The cross is not Jesus; only Jesus is Jesus.  Perhaps the cross, as a symbol, represents a logo of sorts, such as a logo for Coca Cola, or the Cadillac nameplate.

I can understand how difficult it is to follow Jesus without a symbol for the mind to grasp.  Could some alternative symbol be adopted, such as the Holy Communion vessel?  After all, the vessel actually contains the Blood of Christ?  Or is any earthly symbol, or idol, wrong?

Perhaps we are to look into our own hearts to find a living Jesus there.  I invited Jesus a long time ago to come into my heart.  When I did, I do not recall his dragging a cross along with Him.  He was, and is, very much alive in my life.

This post is food for thought.  What are your own thoughts about Jesus and the cross?  Graven image, or logo?

W.S.

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