3rd April 2014

The Cross 

“For the message of 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 (NKJV) 

What does the cross mean for Christians? 

Using a story from the second world war let’s look at three key points. After the invasion of France the allied armies fought their way forward from the beaches. In a rural part of France a small village became the front line for a few days. Pounded by both armies every building in the village was damaged or literally reduced to a pile of rubble. Eventually the front line was pushed past the village and it then became an important staging post for the Allied armies and a reference point for the movement of men and supplies to and from the front line. Despite the battering the village had taken, the tall, old stone cross in the centre had somehow come through the battles undamaged. 

The first thing the Allied soldiers did was to paint the name of the village on the arm of the cross so everyone passing through knew exactly where they were. The soldiers then discovered that the arms of the cross pointed north and south, so quickly painted an N and S to show people which direction to go. Finally the village became an important centre for communications. To get power from one side of the road to the other, without interfering with the traffic, the soldiers hung a cable across the arm of the cross. 

In their actions the soldiers, without knowing it, had shown the importance of the cross for Christians. The Cross shows us where we are, identifies which direction we should go and restores communication with God. 

How does it do that? The foundation for a Christian is accepting and understanding Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.  For all humanity, it is Christ’s personal and individual sacrifice for each Christian. Christians recognize that now, but all humanity will recognize it one day. That tells us where we are, symbolically standing beneath the cross, in awe of what Christ has done for us. 

Our reaction to that is to want to follow Christ, to go in the right direction. The direction of love, sacrifice and giving in contrast to the way of self-serving and getting. 

Finally the cross restores communication with God. At Christ’s death the curtain in the temple covering the Holy of Holies was torn from the top to the bottom (Matthew 27:50-51). Symbolically that showed that all humanity now had access to God. So in prayer we can communicate with God directly, anytime and anywhere. 

Simple points, but crucial for Christians, for whom the message of the cross is indeed the power of God. 

Prayer
Loving Father, thank you for Christ’s life, sacrifice, death and resurrection.  Thank you for the symbol of the cross. Help us to remember who we are, where we are going and to constantly communicate with you.
Amen
 

Study by Keith Hartrick

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keithhartrickAbout the Author:
Keith Hartrick is an Elder in Grace Communion Church – Leeds, a Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, and serves on the Church Council there.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion – Leeds
Garden Village Welfare Association Community Centre
Pendas Way
LEEDS
LS15 8LE

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2PM

Local Congregational Contact:
Malcolm Arnold
Phone:  01484-312347
Email: malcolm.john.arnold@ntlworld.com

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