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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Cross (as in the Cross of Christ) (08/17/06)

TITLE: What Does The Cross Mean To You?
By Elizabeth Hale


I wear a cross necklace every day. I have two crosses swinging from the rear view mirror in my car. One of them has a very special meaning to me. My husband spent ten days in jail nearly a year ago. During that time, he befriended several men. What did they bond over? Jesus. The Bible. Spiritual questions in relation to where they were in their individual lives, and the various incidents, and mistakes that led them all to this place reserved for outcasts and screw-ups.

One of these men painstakingly pulled single threads loose from his simple cotton blanket, wove them tightly together, and fashioned a cross. He continued to pull these threads to create the 'chain' for the necklace. My husband told him that I collect crosses, and this man made this little beauty just for me. I don't know him, yet he presented me with a gift. My husband had to smuggle it out to bring it to me when he was released, as prisoners are allowed to possess only a few bare necessities. I view this cross, more than any other I own, as a reminder of where we might wind up if we allow our sinful natures to take over. My husband, as strange as it sounds, treasures the time he spent there because through it, he was taught things he needed to know.

These crosses mean absolutely nothing if taken at face value. They are jewelry, baubles. A lot of people have them. Yet to me, they are a reminder, a daily reminder, of where I have been, why I am here, and where I am headed. They are a visual reminder of the price that was paid for me, and the Person who paid it in my place. If the earth doesn't shake for you over this, I want to know why.

I was asked once, by a man who was obviously three sheets to the wind, "Why are you wearing that cross?" I immediately went on the defensive, and replied, "It's a reminder". I didn't know what else to say. I didn't want to get into a theological discussion with him. If he had been sober, I may have responded differently.

"Do you believe in Who it represents?" he pressed, waving his beer can expressively around. "Do you believe in God?"

"I do," I answered. There was so much more I could have said, but he was a total stranger, and he was high to boot.

"That's really good," he slurred. "I do too."

I know so many people, so many Christians, who would've laughed in this man's face, or put on their pious faces, and said, "Is that so? If you really did, you wouldn't be drunk right now!"

Oh, really? God looks at the heart of each and every one of us. He does not go by outer appearance, nor does He go by external situations. We have been warned not to judge others, but to leave it to Him alone.

I smiled a little more warmly, and said, "I'm so glad to hear that."

God uses all things, all people, and all situations for His glory. Jesus was nailed to that heavy, rugged, wooden cross for ALL of us. The so-called 'dregs' of society, the hoodlums, the drunks, the druggies, and the gay people are all included in this.

It is up to us, as individuals, to decide what to do with this knowledge. God himself gave us the choice.

What does the cross mean to you?

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This article has been read 697 times
Member Comments
Member Date
terri tiffany08/24/06
What I like - loved the way you wrote this - the detail and the way you did the dialogue. Wonderful. Great devotional.

What I might change - nothing stuck out!:) at first I thought the expression 'three sheets to the wind ' was too overused and but then the next sentence made me think it worked well with your voice.
Very creative and told a great story and good point!
Mtheto Hara08/26/06
Oh yes, you can really communicate beautifully.
Love your prose style and its such an honest tale it applys to all of us on the whole. I recommend it as a great read for all.
Kristi Wood08/27/06
Great story and thanks for the reminder that it's really all about GRACE! I grew up in a judgemental church system and sometimes I still struggle to respond with grace instead of criticism. Thanks for sharing!
Mo 08/29/06
Very nice. It left me wondering why the/your husband spent time in jail, but that really isn't crucial to your point!
Marilyn Schnepp 10/01/06
Extremely well written. You made many a good point in this essay - and it sank in, giving me a new insight into the symbol of the Cross. Thanks for sharing. Very nicely done.