As a Catholic, I wore a crucifix. Contrary to what many evangelicals guessed when they talked to me about it, I was not crucifying Jesus again. I was remembering the sacrifice of Jesus. As an evangelical, I wear a simple cross. Again, for no reason in particular. (Except that my husband bought it for me to honor my faith and I honor his love.)
It concerns me that we can focus on a piece of jewelry as a point of contention regarding where our focus is, but we don't seem to pay attention to where our minds are.
I was a child in the Baptist church with a fire and brimstone, turn or burn, yell & pound the pulpit for emphasis kind of preaching. That preacher happened to be my grandfather so I knew his heart, but I didn't understand his preaching. Maybe I would now, but I heard the cross preached again and again. How many in that small church had never heard the Gospel? I don't know. What I do know, is that Jesus wasn't just crucified. He didn't just die and was buried. I know how to live in the crucifixion. What I needed to learn was how to live in the Resurrection.
At 12, I began my spiritual journey. Yes, I hit some dead ends and got lost a few times. But I was focused on that 3rd day. Once I give my life to Jesus, why do we have to keep pounding me with his death? Did he die so I would hate myself? I had plenty of reason to do that. Did he die so that I would live in condemnation forever? Of course, I don't believe that now, but the pounding of fundamentalist theology caused me to wash my hands of it all. I saw only men trying to control others behavior but no transformative work of the Gospel in the hearts of others. Rules don't seem to do that. Grace does.
As a Catholic, I found a rhythm of life, a tradition of faith on the other side of the cross. Yes, there are plenty of issues one can choose regarding the way they practice their faith or understand it. But I was a half breed. I understood the cross and wanted to know how to live.
Eventually I got lost there, too. Lots of rules and rulers. And quite fallible individuals who tried to pretend they had the right answers. They alone, of course.
So I picked up the truths that I had found and kept looking for more. Kept searching. Kept journeying. And God found me.
The teachers who challenged me with their humble concoction of truth and grace are the ones who helped Him catch my heart. These teachers don't live in the crucifixion. They showed me that Jesus didn't come to earth to simply pay the price for my sin but to triumph over sin and death altogether. He came to earth trusting in the plan of the Father. He was looking for me, despite having all he wanted.
This sweet Jesus who rescues, He refuses to allow me to stand in Friday. He refuses to let that spirit of condemnation mock Him. Instead, He calls me from that empty tomb. He calls me from mourning into the morning light. He calls me to Himself, resurrected, where God's power is displayed for all to see. And He uses that power on me, on you, on my church...He transforms us from who we were to who we are in Him.
What day is it for you? Are you stuck thinking you are worthless and wretched? Welcome to the club, but stop being a prideful jerk. You have worth because of HIM. You are made whole because of HIM. Don't get stuck in Friday. Come to the Resurrection and experience His power.