For I decided to know nothing among you accept Jesus Christ and him crucified.
— 1 Corinthians 2:2
I am drawn to the cross; but not the empty cross, I am drawn to the crucifix. As a young girl, I wore a Miraculous Medal; or I should say, several miraculous medals. Chain after chain broke (I even upgraded to a really THICK chain), and I would end up losing the medal or being without a chain to wear it on. After the third or fourth time of this I didn’t have the money to buy a new medal or chain, and went without anything around my neck.
I did this for several months, but it just didn’t feel right. While looking for a necklace, I found a beautiful gold crucifix in my mom’s jewelry box that she wasn’t wearing because the chain was too short for her. It fit me perfectly. I’ve worn it ever since. It has never broken. I don’t have anything against the Miraculous Medal, but I think the crucifix just happens to be the devotion for me. I have been drawn to the cross since a young age; not the cross, really, but the crucifix.
This made me ponder what the crucifix means to me, and why I love it so much. It also made me wonder why so many churches display “naked” crosses; crosses without Jesus on them. Perhaps they don’t like the reminder of Christ’s suffering and death. Perhaps they find the body of the murdered Christ too graphic. In my more cynical moments, I wonder if these “naked” crosses are a sign of the secular culture permeating the faith. Are we preaching an “easy gospel”? Are we trying to side-step the difficult and uneasy truths of faith and life? Are we forgetting that we must suffer if we wish to share in his glory? (Romans 8:17) Whatever the reason, I think we are depriving ourselves of a good thing when we divorce Christ from his cross.
What is the cross without Jesus? No more than the sword, or the guillotine, or the electric chair is to us now. It isn’t so much the cross that I love…I am not sure I love it at all; without Jesus I know I would not regard it at all. But I revere the cross, it being the instrument by which Jesus saved me, it being the symbol of God‘s unfailing and transforming love. I love what the cross beholds…Jesus in His most supreme action as God and man. Those who divorce Christ from His cross are confounded. Their gospel is not authentic. It is a sham. They follow either the cross, empty and barren, or follow Christ, hollow and shallow. You cannot divorce Christ from His cross.