To me, the cross is a symbol of grace and comfort. It stands for strength and hope and belonging.
When I was a child, my grandmother would take me back to Jefferson City, Mo. for her Sunday school reunions. I’d carry a tray of iced tea into a room full of women who all wore small gold crosses. This symbol of their faith told me that this was a place of safety and belonging, not to mention tea and short bread.
Until recently, I never thought about what the cross used to mean.
In Christ’s time, the cross was an object of torture. It was a means of execution. It was terrifying and dark and dreadful. It meant pain and sorrow.
That’s what the cross meant before Christ. It was the hangman’s noose. The executioner’s axe.
But Christ changed that. Through Him, fear became hope. Pain yielded before grace. Instead of a symbol of torment and shame, the cross came to represent hope and peace.
This week I’ve found myself wondering how sad it is that so many people, through their actions and their words, are turning the cross from a symbol of hope into a symbol of dread. They do this when they say, “Your kind is not welcome here. I can discriminate against you and call it religion.”
Discrimination. Inequality. Despair. That was the cross of Rome.
It’s up to me to let people know that I wear the cross of Christ.