I’m almost always a bit surprised when I see someone wearing a cross as an instrument of adornment. Once, about 30 years ago now, a friend and I wandered into a store where the clerk was wearing a cross around her neck and my friend asked “Do you wear that cross because you believe Christianity or because it’s just a nice piece of jewelery?” The clerk, after composing herself from blushing, said something like “I dunno.”

In the first-century the cross was a symbol of shame, punishment, torture, and execution. It certainly was not a means of “dressing up” nor a means to enhance one’s appearance. No one in Christ’s day would think of polishing up a cross with precious stones and selling it. Only after Christ was crucified did Christians begin to see it as an instrument of pride since it pointed to the Savior crucified.

Is the symbol of the cross a viable means of illustrating our commitment to Christ? One of my favorite songs, as sung by Steve Green, is “Embrace the Cross” found here. The lyrics are worthy of deep reflection.

I am crucified with Christ
Therefore I no longer live
Jesus Christ now lives in me (Repeat)

Embrace the cross
Where Jesus suffered
Though it will cost
All you claim as yours
Your sacrifice will seem small
Beside the treasure
Eternity can’t measure
What Jesus holds in store

Embrace the love
The cross requires
Cling to the one
Whose heart knew every pain
Receive from Jesus
Fountains of compassion
Only He can fashion
Your heart to move as His

Oh, wondrous cross our desires rest in you
Lord Jesus make us bolder
To face with courage the shame and disgrace
You bore upon Your shoulder

Embrace the life
That comes from dying
Come trace the steps
The Savior walked for you
An empty tomb
Concludes Golgotha’s sorrow
Endure then till tomorrow
Your cross of suffering
Embrace the cross
Embrace the cross
The cross of Jesus


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