For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
I spoke about the image of the “cross” with our kiddos today in this morning’s children’s sermons. We looked for crosses in the sanctuary, and spoke a little about the inverted cross upon which legend claims St. Peter was crucified as a mockery of the Christian claim of the cross of Jesus being a cross of life and resurrection.
One little boy was pretty jazzed about looking for crosses. When we moved on from the “cross search mission” as started talking about what crosses mean for us as Christians, he was still looking and once or twice called out a new cross that he had found in the sanctuary. When he came up for communion with his mom he made a cross symbol for me with his fingers while bearing a smile as wide as his face. After the service as I was greeting at the door, he came out my door with his family, and made another sign of the cross for me, smiling all the way.
It got me thinking about how we view the cross in our lives and world. Typically, we adopt the party line that we find in our Gospels. The cross is a sign of our salvation, but it is also a reminder that life is hard and the Christian walk is hard, and that in a broken world we will sometimes be shunned or misunderstood or ridiculed for our beliefs. We seem to emphasize and dwell on these latter realities of the cross, describing them as “the way of the cross.”
But what if we adopted the excitement of my young friend this morning, and sought out cross-opportunities in our life because of our great excitement of being connected to Jesus. I do not intend to be simplistic and Pollyanna-ish. But if the cross is our glory and salvation, what temporary struggles can possibly compare with that? Might not our following in Jesus’ footsteps become more than suffering, more than a struggle, more than a time of trial. Might they not become an experience of joy that allows us to see our sufferings and struggles in a different light?
So in your prayers and meditation this week, consider whether one of our youngest Christians at worship this morning is onto something. Ponder whether the way you look at the demands of the Christian life, might in fact allow a little more joy and celebration in your life. What have you got to lose? … a few frowns … a heaviness on your heart … an expectation that spiritual rain is always in the forecast? Might it not be worth the risk to view your cross-bearing as a great adventure of finding crosses in the least expected places? And an experience that allows you some joy in finding them?