The Old Rugged Cross

The Old Rugged Cross – what does that phrase mean to you?

To some, it may bring immediately to mind a classic old hymn.

To others, it may bring immediately to mind a form of cruel torture.

It is odd how people sometimes react to talking about the cross. Some speak of it in glowing, loving terms – grateful for all God has done for them. Others react almost violently – as ironic as that may be – to the mere fact that Christians have long worn small crosses around their necks as a sign of devotion and others wear it as mere ornamentation.

I have been almost attacked….”Why do you Christians have to wear those little crosses around your neck, anyway? Don’t you know it’s just a tool of execution. It’s as if you are hanging a little electric chair around your neck!”

I have actually had people say that to me – with plenty of venom in their voice while doing so. I always have to wonder what has made them so bitter. Sadly, perhaps they have been burned one too many times by an overly zealous Christian trying to “save their soul” in a clumsy, if well-meaning way.

Which brings me to my question. What does the cross mean to you?

Is it a symbol of God’s everlasting love? Is it just a cruel tool of torture? Is it just a decorative item of jewelry – a little gold bling? Is it a reminder, whenever you see it, that God loves the world – the whole world – even those who reject Him?

We are wrestling with these questions in my congregation as part of our Lenten study. We are exploring to put the cross – in all it’s gruesome and glorious power – at the center of our lives of faith.

I would invite you to ponder this too. Not because we all understand what the cross means – but because, perhaps, we can barely grasp all that it means.

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