As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I am auditing a composition honors class at the local junior college. Our first major essay was to write on an object. I chose the crucifix for a couple of reasons. First it has significance for me and secondly, I want to continue to share the “good news” with young people.
So here is part of what I had said about the crucifix. Because the audience has different opinions regarding Christianity, I did not include bible verses. I will simply quote from the essay
“I grew up Lutheran and eventually became a Lutheran pastor. In my religious tradition a “dead” Jesus on a cross is almost a denial of the resurrection….I came to value the Crucifix, while learning from Leanne Payne. Leanne had a significant healing ministry in which the Crucifix played a major role. She has written, “Christian reality is diminished for us because it has been reduced to an abstraction…we need to be reminded that a crucifix is more than a valid symbol of truth, it is and always has been a central one.” Then I stated, “I found healing for my wounded soul, in part, by focusing on Jesus dying on the cross. I visualized him taking my pain and sins into his body.”
I write of wanting to make three points about the Crucifix. “First, the cross depicts a compassionate and loving God, who has demonstrated the extend to which he loves humanity. He was willing to suffer and die for the failures of each of us. I would like to reimage the Crucifix, not as a bloody portrait of a good man, with all the misconceptions surrounding the death of Jesus, but rather as ‘good news’ in a culture that is crying out for help. Briefly stated – Father, Son and Holy Spirit have lived in a loving relationship from all eternity. At one point in history a loving heavenly Father, sent His Son to die for the failures of the human race. The Holy Spirit is the presence of God in our hearts, making this reality a present truth, bringing healing to our wounded souls.
Secondly, the story of Jesus and his death on the cross as a historical event is meant to provide a way home. We have all wandered from home, that is, away fro a loving relationship with our heavenly Father. Jesus came to provide a way back, through his death on the cross. In a day when many in our culture struggle with issues of identity, significance, belonging and loneliness, the cross boldly declares, “here is a way home.”
Thirdly…. the Crucifix represents a place where I can go with my problems and pain. I visualize Jesus bearing them in his suffering for me. Of equal importance is how I have been able to help others, by going with them to the foot of the cross to find healing for their wounded and broken souls. In simple terms – we can lay our problems at the foot of the cross.
I am simply telling my story and the significance the Crucifix continues to have in my life. I know of no other symbol that is more important to me. That is why I tell my story. I close by quoting one of the most familiar verses of the Bible. This is a quote from the Message. “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life” (John 3:16).