Here’s Your Sign

I don’t wear crosses. They bother me.

I know I’m too literal about them but, to me, it’s like wearing tiny electric chairs or nooses as jewelry. The cross was an ugly instrument of humiliation, oppression, torture and death. Coating it with gold or painting a rose on it, for me, diminishes the truth and separates us from the reality of the cost of our sin by a glistening, thin veil of metallic shine.

I’m aware that other people don’t see it the way I do. It’s OK. I’m the weird one.

I don’t get upset when others wear gold crosses as earrings or dangle silver crosses as key chains. I just can’t do it. If someone I loved died in a Chevy pickup, I probably wouldn’t drive one after that. If someone I loved died in a fire, I think it would change my appreciation of sitting by the hearth. And if those people died because of something I did, well, it would change the way I see those things forever.

I know I see things differently than others but if I had lived at a time when humans were hung up around the village and nailed to trees and left to die, I can’t see myself thinking – “Hey, that would make a great T-shirt.”

There was an internet rumor whipping around a few months back about how the DNA structure of this protein called laminin, this substance that is a so vital it is like the glue that holds us together, well, the rumor said that the structure of this protein is in the shape of the cross. Turns out that’s true.

And it brings to mind the passage in Colossians 1:16-17 that says this about Jesus: “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

So, that’s cool but for those who don’t believe in God, it’s just a weird coincidence that crazy Christians will pass on through chain emails and for those who do believe it’s like “Duh!” Laminin is just one of trillions of signs God hard-wired into creation like flowering dogwood and the golden ratio. Most of the people who follow Jesus don’t spend their days looking for mysterious signs like Jesus’ face appearing in nature or on water-stained walls or on grilled cheese. We spend our days looking at Him.

I believe in signs and symbols. Walking through my days with a mind full of scripture and a heart set on Christ, the world is full of signs. My spirit is fortified by these signs but they are not proof of God to me and I don’t try to use them to prove God to anyone else.

When Jesus walked the earth, the Pharisees and teachers demanded miraculous signs from Him. He wasn’t very diplomatic with His response: “He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Matthew 12:39-40

The empty tomb. Here’s your sign.

He was dead. He was killed on a cross. Not a cross of gleaming gold but a filthy, splintered, ugly blood-soaked piece of dead wood. He was nailed to that cross and died for the sins you committed yesterday and the ones you will commit today – and mine. He was wrapped in grave clothes and his body was laid to rot inside a guarded tomb that smelled of the spices of the dead.

And then, He was alive. The cross was behind Him – done once for all. The grave was behind Him – death defeated. And life was before Him – abundant, eternal, everlasting, Technicolor, high-definition LIFE.

And then He met with the men and women who followed Him and He prayed for them. He prayed for THEM to be the sign for others “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:20-23

WE ARE THE SIGN.

It wasn’t Jesus’ plan for people to see Him in your jewelry or your garden or your grilled cheese. It was His desire for people to see Him in you.

I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. He is before all things and in Him, all things hold together. He is the laminin of the Body of Christ. He is the glue that unifies all believers. He is the sticking place.

We are the sign.

WE.

As we are brought into unity this lets the world know that that Jesus was sent from God and that God loves us even as He loves Christ. That is what should be draped around our necks and hanging from our ears and printed on our T-shirts and dipped in gold to shine for all to see – our unity in Christ – our oneness in Him – His love perfected in us.

We are the sign.

Seeing the image of Jesus in a grilled cheese sandwich or in a gold cross hanging in a kiosk at the mall – that’s nothing.

Seeing the image of Jesus in the love and unity of those who follow Him –

Well, that’s the crux of the whole message now, isn’t it, loved ones?

Get in on the conversation

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

18 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Andrea says:

    I suppose I never looked at it that way..but you are right..it is MOST important to see HIM in each of our lives..we should NOT have to wear any symbol displaying our beliefs..it should be evident by our actions.
    Hugs,
    andrea

  2. Cheri says:

    Love this post! So true. I don’t wear a cross either, but had no particular reason for that… until today!

    Great food for thought,
    Cheri

  3. rdkraines says:

    Amen and Amen!
    ~from Diane

  4. Thanks, Cheri. You’re so funny. Glad to give you a reason!

  5. Diane! Praying the Lord blesses your work in Germany!

  6. Vanessa says:

    So very true! We are the body of Christ. So grateful for what He has done for all of us. God bless you. Love the message you are spreading through your blog posts 🙂

  7. Welcome, Vanessa! Love the colors on your blog, the flowers look as edible as the cucumber salad! Thank you for your kind encouragement. I hope you’ll drop in again. God bless.

  8. Maurie says:

    Lori, Your blog post really made me think. I agree that we are the reflection of Jesus to the world, but I wear a cross–a diamond studded cross–because the cross represents Christ’s most precious gift and reminds me every day of how much he loves me. The cross, though ugly and painful, has made me beautiful in God’s sight and has healed my hurts. As a “faith-flag” my cross has opened many conversations! In spite of my thoughts, you made me think of my cross from a new perspective; you challenged me to be the sign of God’s love to the world! Thank you.
    I received the link to your blog from Les Stobbe. I just started a blog and would welcome your comments. http://graciousinteriors.blogspot.com. The mandate for writing on interiors came from the Titus 2 passage–both our homes and hearts are important to God. If you have suggestions for helping me reach a broad audience, I would be most grateful.

    http://graciousinteriors.blogspot.com

  9. Dawn Clark Wright says:

    This is a really smart, insightful piece. I have never heard this perspective before and it’s a most interesting one.
    Best,
    Dawn

  10. Welcome, Maurie! Thanks for stopping by – I love Les! He’s such a faithful encourager. Tomorrow I’ll stop by your blog (when I’ve had a good night’s sleep). It sounds great.

    I hope I communicated that I know I’m the odd one when it comes to wearing crosses. I don’t think it’s wrong to wear them I just can’t do it. They certainly can be tools to open conversational doors. Thank you for your kind feedback. Just like the title of the blog, I just try to go deeper with all things Jesus. Blessings! I’ll reach out to you tomorrow.

  11. Jennifer says:

    Whew! I appreciate your post here! What a challenge – I’m going to try to remember it as I see crosses & such. It’s me God wants them to see Him through. Such a challenge!!! Sometimes wearing a cross would seem so much easier. But then I have to remember, easier isn’t always better, or even more satisfying!
    Thanks for the push!!

  12. Thank you, Jen. Remember to let Jesus carry the load, though! His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

  13. I’m not a big cross wearer either, though so many of them are to-die for gorgeous. So many times we get lost in the religiosity of symbols. You are so right, Lori, we MUST be the sign. Thanks again for another fabulous post. Have you checked out “Death By Love” by Mark Driscoll? Haven’t read it yet, but my hubby was reading a portion of it to me that so reminded me of this post.

  14. I haven’t read “Death By Love” but I’ll have to look into it (though I shouldn’t even dream of buying another book right now!). Thank you Shannon.

  15. Praise God, I loved reading your article this morning. The life we live as Christian, how others see Christ in us, is what matters. I have never wore a cross, not for any of the reasons you stated, but I will probably never view one the same now. If the way we live doesn’t say to others we are believers, what would wearing a cross say? Hugs, Rita