The Cross …

The logo of the URC

And of all the Church
whenever in time
wherever in the world
and of whatever denomination

the centre of the world and eternity …
the centre of the Christian Faith …
God’s solution …
and victory

the Light came into the world
and the darkness could not consume it
God is unapproachable light
In Him, there is no darkness at all

We’re currently in the period of Lent – a period traditionally of self-assessment and reflection – a time of preparation for Easter. At this time, as indeed is any time, it is good to focus on the Cross.

We so often shrink away not only from the scandal and obscenity of the Cross, but also its reality! It actually happened! It’s fact – a real event, a true event in history.

The Cross is central to the Christian Faith and we must not be ashamed of it – what is a stumbling block to other religions (“Jews”) and foolishness to our culture and world (“Greeks”) is the power of God to salvation (Romans 1.16 & 1 Corinthians 1.18,23). We must look towards the Cross with wonder and awe – albeit a paradox (and maybe necessarily a paradox) it shows us the very heart of God.

God said to Moses, take off your shoes for you are on holy ground.
Well here, as we look towards the Cross, we are on holy ground … God will meet us here … !

So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived. (Numbers 21.9)

All they needed to do was look!
Let us this Lent, take the opportunity to look likewise –
to not turn our eyes away from the Cross,
but to look, to see, to trust & believe!

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3.14-15)

And as Isaiah said, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple (Isaiah 6.1) and the apostle John makes it clear that the Lord that Isaiah saw, was Jesus. (John 12.37-41)

And as Paul says: God forbid that I should boast save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by which [or whom] the world was crucified to me and I to the world. (Galatians 6.14)

I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2.2)

The Cross is the symbol and logo of the Church – all over the world, in every place and denomination, and from the earliest times right up to the present day.

When the Church looks at the symbol of the Cross, the fish is taken as read. However, the URC logo makes the fish explicit – who it was on the Cross and why!

In Greek, the word fish (Icthus) is an acronym for Jesus, Christ, God’s Son, Saviour.

It was God the Son on the Cross – the glorious Lord that Isaiah saw – who became the man Jesus of Nazareth anointed with the Holy Spirit – the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world who was sent by God the Father as our Saviour Jesus Christ.

As Paul says, Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, and rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures, and was seen by many many people, including myself. (1 Corinthians 15.3-8)

The world is troubled by the Cross – companies and organisations don’t want the sign of the Cross displayed. Why is this?

Why are, or might people be, offended? You can’t dispute the Cross happened. If you don’t agree with the Christian belief, what’s the problem – Ok, we’re misguided, the Cross is irrelevant – so what?!! … why the offense?!!

The Cross shows a loving God reaching out to all of us. How can you take offense at this ?

Isn’t the real reason because the Cross shows the seriousness of sin and the problem for the world is that it shows that God won’t ignore or turn a blind eye to its own sin and wrong-doing – God won’t ignore or turn a blind eye to any of us.

We can argue from blatant self-interest, to be a special case, to be let-off, but although God is loving and compassionate, but He won’t abuse His power or position.

The Cross shows that God is not some despotic dictator, but the ultimate Goodness who exercises His Almighty Power in accordance with Justice, which He sublimely displays with Love and Mercy.

The world doesn’t want God to rule over it and for it (and the people of the world) thereby to become part of Christ’s Kingdom. It’s the world’s sin that it doesn’t wish for a Saviour and it’s the world’s pride that won’t let it recognise it’s need of a Saviour.

Today, just as always, we have a simple choice – do we want God to rule over our lives or do we decide to continue in our rebellion against Him. Do we accept Jesus Christ and what He has done on the Cross or do we not want to know (ie wilful ignorance) and so push Him away and reject Him.

The Cross is God’s Judgement! It’s the fragrance of death to those who are perishing, but the aroma of life to those who are being saved (2 Corinthians .2.14-16). Well may we understand people being troubled by it and seeking to avoid it and its truth – often simply by closing their eyes to it or by trying to cover it up, but sometimes (and increasingly) by persecution.

We should be troubled also by it!! It is troubling, but … as we look at the Cross, everything else in life, the universe and everything begins to fit into place. For those who wish to be friends with God and who begin to look at the Cross – Christ crucified and risen – it is wonderful, it is glorious, it is awe-inspiring – truth and mercy have kissed, between God and us we have righteous peace (Psalm 85.10-11)

What greater sign can their be of God’s love and care for us than that He came! He came to earth and suffered and died for us on the Cross – the passion of Christ!

My challenge to you this month is for every day in March and Holy Week (the week up to Easter) to take a moment and focus on the Cross – to focus on the reality and facts of this remarkable event in history.

And for then each one of us to humbly ask God,
what does this mean? What does this mean for the world, for the Church, and for me!
And then to reflect, to meditate and to wait … for Him to reveal …

more of His heart …
His will …
and His loving and healing presence …!