The Exaltation of the Cross

A Cross in the Blizzard - Josef Chelmonski
I've heard it said that it would be extremely odd for a person to wear an electric chair or guillotine around their neck, yet many of us proudly wear a cross - a symbol of torture. And today we exalt that symbol of torture.

Because it's also a sign of hope.

I often tell my kids that no situation is so grim that God's grace cannot enter in and redeem it. How hard that must have been to believe and understand to the loved ones of Christ as He agonized on that cross for hours, after having to drag it through the streets, undergoing a grueling physical and spiritual test.

And we exalt it as a sign of hope.

We are told that we must all carry our cross if we want to follow Christ - He's very explicit about that. Choosing a life in Christ means a burdened life, a difficult life, a life that goes against the stream of the culture around us.

And that cross is still a sign of hope.

I must admit, with my recent struggle with depression and all the issues my family has been facing these past few months, I don't feel like I'm carrying my cross: I feel like I'm being beaten into the ground by it. It's enormously burdensome.

Yet, it's still a sign of hope.

The only reason that the cross - a symbol of torture and death - is a sign of hope is because that is what Christ chose as His means of redeeming our sins. He could have done it in any way He chose, but He chose a sacrificial, horrible, torturous method - perhaps as a way to show us that we can endure in our own pain and suffering.

Today, we exalt the cross. Today, we pray "We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You,  because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world."

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