The cross symbol has been a vital influence in the worship and lives of Christians. Here are seven historical forms of the cross explained and interpreted for today. Each page includes the history of the particular cross, a meaningful devotion and suggested daily reading for personal meditation. The sign of the cross series can serve as the basis for Lenten devotions, sermons, worship, or study.
"The time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and see My glory." - Isaiah 66:18b
Easter emerges from Lent and Holy Week like the sun after an eclipse. The dark events of Christ’s passion and death suddenly give way to light and new Life. The sombre mood dramatically changes as we again celebrate the resurrection story. Our world is transformed. Hope is recovered- Out spirits are reborn.
Easier is experienced as a time of great contrast. It reflects it surprising relevance to our condition now. Perhaps you have sensed periods of depression in your own personal life when feelings of meaninglessness and chaos seem to pervade everything. Some interpret this general feeling of loneliness or emptiness with a gradual erosion of faith and religious assumptions.
Others express their concern about our modern condition as a time when Our religious symbols have failed us. They believe the religious references and structures which once provided order and direction for life have crumbled. They blame science, commercialism, materialism, politics or whatever for displacing our dependence on a supernatural agency or reality we usually identify as God .In contrast to these “Good Friday doubts” stands Easter and Christ’s resurrection.
Cross and Orb
The symbol Of the cross surmounting the orb of the world affirms that we still have a Lord over our life. The mystery of Jesus’ risen power dissipates all the dark clouds of doubt and depression. Indeed, He reigns light and hope throughout the universe The cross and orb signify the supremacy of the spiritual over the temporal world the triumph of our Savior over sin.
The cross is transformed from an instrument of death into a sign of marvelous rebirth it is a glorious “Hallelujah” resounding to the outermost reaches of the heavens. Throughout history lime arid space it reechoes with the truth that God has not abandoned us Indeed, a powerful divine energy is still In Control and at the center of things inspiring our salvation destiny.
The cross over the cosmos is a contemporary reminder that our ultimate destiny continues in the care of a creative and redemptive God. In the incarnate body and saving actions of the living Christ our Divine Parent has demonstrated a universal love. The Death-resurrection of Christ communicates a victory and offers a symbol of reconciliation between humanity and the total social order to which we all belong.
Participating in the Victory
Each generation has a responsibility to extend the Gospel, to understand and to re-appropriate Christ’s lordship anew in an ever changing culture. Our salvation is an unfinished drama of ongoing tension, threats and challenge Our developing history is a constantly unfolding process We need new particular symbols for our own time and circumstances to help us relate to the Universal Symbol of the cross.
The artist as symbol maker fulfills this need for fresh visualizations of ordering our relationship to the risen Lord. In an age in which disbelief is so profoundly prevalent, o if not disbelief, then indifference to questions of belief, art helps us integrate our faith, Next to faith imagination is the greatest power of vital self assertion In a world of disappointing alternative beliefs.
As we realize new forms which help us to relate to the cross and Christian faith we also discover these lesser symbols emanate from the central Symbol of Christ. Each now form also depends on Christ for renewal of life. The ongoing Inspiration of changing forms is the work of the Divine Spirit helping us to re create. protect and expand meaning in our spiritual life.
Meditation and Further Reflection
o Lord, I celebrate your victory over death and rejoice in your triumph over my own personal life I am grateful that throughout our Christian history your Spirit has been associated with the dynamic operations of invigorating inspiring and empowering us to glimpse new ways of embracing the ongoing influence of the Easter event.
We are enriched because through your spiritual energy the symbol-making and symbol re-making process continues The Spirit has no form yet, like the wind and breath of life itself, that which moves arid transforms the form is the Spirit. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty and freedom to grasp anew the meaning of the cross.
Help us always to be open to the Spirit even though we must accept that It moves where It wills and no one can tell whence It cornea or wither It goes. May it continue to persuade us to extend our knowledge and deepen our experience of revelation. May it prompt us towards new horizons and expose to us to that which lies beyond our present limitations and above this present world whose builder and organizer is God.
Thus, 0 Lord, will you teach us to accept the final reconciliation in which God gathers all things to Himself. We know there is no guarantee that our symbols will be valid and effective in tomorrow’s world. As Christians we can only affirm in faith the two local symbols of the Body and the Cross which furnish a framework of your ultimate grace which we receive as a gilt through Christ out Lord, Amen.