What the Cross Means to Me

31 10 2013


by Stassi D. Cramm, Council of Twelve Apostles

When I went to work full-time for Community of Christ as a minister, my husband and children gave me a beautiful cross necklace. I have worn it every day since, and I often find myself pondering what the cross means to me.

First, the particular cross I wear reminds me of the unconditional love and support of my family. Their love and support are physical expressions of God’s generous love and support for all people.

The empty cross reminds me that life conquers death, love wins over hate, and grace prevails over judgment. This is the promise of the cross. This promise is shared with all who claim the cross. Followers of the cross are sent to generously share life, love, and grace with all people.

Second, the cross is a reminder that we can twist good and use it to harm. I know many disciples have twisted the message of the cross into a message of oppression and conquering. The cross reminds me that we must always remain open to God’s guidance through the Holy Spirit to keep our human desires for power, expansion, and being in check.

This is the warning of the cross. Not everyone who claims the cross remains true to the meaning. Others may look at the symbol with skepticism or even fear. Those who claim the cross are challenged to do better than those who have abused others in the name of the cross by remaining true to God’s message.

Third, the cross is a reminder that discipleship comes at a cost. Jesus invited people to take up their cross and follow him. Jesus courageously challenged political, social, and even religious ways of life that were contrary to God’s unconditional love and openness for all people. The cross reminds me that pursuing the Worth of All Persons, ending needless suffering, and working for God’s vision of shalom (to name just a few) can create controversy. After all, Jesus was crucified for his actions.

This is the risk of the cross. We share this risk with others who have been transformed by the promise but also heed the warning of the cross so that our risk-taking actions are true to God’s desires and not misdirected by human ego.



One response

31 10 2013
Barb Kernohan

I have heard that some people think the cross is like similar to wearing a casket around one’s neck. So glad Stacey wrote this article as we needed her fresh perspective. Thank you Stacey for sharing and giving a positive way of looking at the cross that also means so much to me.

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