Originally scheduled for May 3
(The story which follows is probably
apocryphal.) A certain minister was giving a tour of his new church
building to a group of ministers from other churches. The building
had been built on a lavish scale, using only the finest materials.
At the end of the tour the minister pointed to the cross on the top
of the steeple. “Solid gold plated,” he said, “Cost us ten thousand
“You were cheated,” said a minister from the
poor side of town. “Time was, a Christian could get one of those,
There is a curious fact pointed out in this
story. The cross as it was originally designed was a rough and crude
instrument of torture and death. We, the Christians, have turned it
into a beautiful symbol. We make crosses out of silver and gold; we
have even made crosses out of prison bars. In each instance we have
tried to convert the crude instrument of torture into something
beautiful and very meaningful. Why do we do that?
In some instances, it is a form of
honor. Most wedding rings are made of silver or gold, and this
emphasizes the importance and permanence of marriage. A similar
thing can be said of a gold or silver cross.
In some instances it is a form of
gratitude. At the cross we receive salvation; at the cross we
receive forgiveness; at the cross we become children of God. For
these things, gratitude is a perfectly natural and righteous
Sometimes it’s just that we are doing
our best. We are, as Oswald Chambers once put it, doing our utmost
for His Highest. The best deserves the best.
This may be why Christ never asked us to make
gold and silver crosses. Instead, the memorial he left us is quite
the opposite — it is symbolic of suffering and death.
The bread symbolizes to us the bodily
suffering of Christ. It reminds us of the nails through his hands
and feet. It reminds us of the spear in his side. It reminds us of
the pain he endured for our sakes.
The cup symbolizes to us the blood of
Christ, shed for our sins. We remember that blood is itself the very
life of a human being. If you let it leak long enough, the victim
dies. Christ died an agonizing death as his blood slowly left his
We look at the cross and make it beautiful. It
may be elaborate; it may be made of precious metals. It reminds us
not only of his sacrifice but of his resurrection, and the great
resurrection to come. It is altogether fitting that we make a cross
which is a reminder of his victory over death. It is also fitting
that he has left us the reminder: the beauty of the cross was
obtained by the suffering of the man who died on it.