“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18
During the 1990’s, the big deal were those wild pictures in the mall that had hidden objects. Some were dolphins. Some were circles. Some, I never figured out. The pictures provided a visual challenge. How well could one see beyond the colors and the obvious in order to look straight into the meaning of the framed art itself? The art required effort. Both from the spectator and by the artist.
Faith is much the same way. If we’ve grown up in church, we understand the story of the cross. We understand its importance. Whether we are Catholic and prefer the crucifix, which leaves Jesus on the cross reminding us of His sacrifice OR we are Protestant and prefer an empty cross to remind us of His resurrection, churchgoers typically get the message. We see the cross and we understand its power and importance.
That’s why the cross left standing at Notre Dame despite the devastating fire is so meaningful to Christians. The words of our national anthem remind us of sacrifices made by proudly proclaiming, “Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight, o’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming. And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.” As a mother of a soldier, the American flag took on a deeper meaning when my son began traveling to hostile countries to protect freedom. However, I acknowledge, not everyone sees our flag the same way.
The same is true with the cross of Christ. Some find deep meaning and purpose in its presence. Others merely see it as a nice piece of jewelry or a pretty knick-knack to display. But, to those of us who understand the message of the cross, it is both sacred and divine. The cross is the emblem of Christianity. Without it, we’d be just another religion.
My goal is to at least try to explain to every person I meet or know that the cross has meaning. The cross is Christ’s message. He proclaimed that despite our wrongdoings and His innocence, He willingly died a convicted man’s death for us. Though the rockets may glare. Though bombs burst in the air. Though fire ravished the beauty of Notre Dame. We have proof through every dark day and long night – the cross is still there. Your message is received, Lord. The surviving cross at Notre Dame is Your Holy Week reminder that You are still here. Despite the turmoil and chaos around us, You remain. Not even a criminal’s death on a cross could keep You down. Hallelujah!
*Note: The artwork is an original computer-designed print entitled, “Fun Fun Fun,” and has hidden “T’s” because of a Beach Boys song from my childhood. It is copyrighted along with all works on this site.