Everybody Wants a Piece of the Cross

Celtic cross in a field of daisiesEverybody wants a piece of the cross.

One of those travel guys on TV visited a museum in Europe that was filled with religious relics. There was a tooth supposedly from John the Baptist, a piece of the tablecloth claimed to be from the Last Supper and a piece of wood allegedly taken from the actual cross of Jesus. Local people told the travel guy that there are places all around the world displaying pieces of the “actual cross” and that, if all those pieces were gathered together, about 40 crosses could be constructed from them!

Everybody wants a piece of the cross.

The cemeteries are full of crosses of many styles. There’s a Presbyterian cross design, a Russian Orthodox cross design, an Episcopal cross design…and simple generic crosses. They decorate the graves of believers and non-believers, grandfathers and babies, police officers and criminals.

Everybody wants a piece of the cross.

The Nazis marched under the swastika symbol, a broken cross. The flower children of the 1960s popularized the peace symbol, an upside down cross. Celtic crosses often have ornate designs. The Christian ones may have designs representing specific Bible stories or characters or other Christian symbols. Others contain designs with no apparent meaning. Still others have occult or pagan symbols. The Celtic cross is seen on Christian books as well as on New Age books and in openly pagan literature.

Everybody wants a piece of the cross.

Crosses are worn by priests, soccer moms, bikers, preps, heavy metal rockers, executives and vampire slayers. Crosses are displayed on buildings, carried in pockets, enclosed in coffins, dangled from car mirrors.

People change the design of the cross, break it, turn it upside down, wear it and bury it. But they can’t seem to leave it alone.

Everybody wants a piece of the cross.

Because deep inside everybody knows that the cross represents power. The mistake of some people is thinking the power is in the object. But the power is not in the wood or the silver or the gold, not in the shape or the angles. The power is—and always was—in Jesus himself. He is the strongest power there is. He’s the power of creation. He’s the power that chose to save us—and the only power that could. He is the light that overpowers darkness. He is the love that overpowers fear and hate. He is the life that overpowers death.

Take your piece of the cross. But hold on to the power behind it.

(excerpted from my book Devotions by Dead People © 2004)

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2 thoughts on “Everybody Wants a Piece of the Cross

  1. I have a dear Christian friend who loves jewelry and often wears an ankh that she must think is a cross. I say nothing. She also reads, along with her husband, the Jesus Speaking devotional. She really digs Joel Osteen. So much confusion.

    1. Most of us are naive about pagan symbols, thinking that they’re kinda cool because they’re exotic. You know, thinking, “What’s the harm?” Being in the Scripture more helps us see that the Lord doesn’t want us making use of pagan objects/rituals. That’s how ancient Israel got in trouble—taking just one little step away, then another . . . I hope you’ll be able to talk with your friend about this. If she wants to please the Lord, she probably just doesn’t realize the problem here.

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