29 March 2013
The cross: more than just a logo
An Easter message from Steve Clifford, general director of the Evangelical Alliance.
It's just a few days ago now that I had the joy and privilege of attending Justin Welby's enthronement as the Archbishop of Canterbury.
What an amazing event – complete with drama, ceremony and surprises – a wonderful statement of faith and public proclamation made not simply before a couple of thousand people in Canterbury Cathedral, but to the millions watching on television and listening on radio around the world.
In reflecting on this historic event, I was struck by how, with so many senior religious leaders gathered in one place, it's amazing how many crosses emerge.
They come in incredible variety of shapes, sizes, colours, manufactured materials - some wonderful pieces of art sitting on altars, carried in processions, displayed in stain glass windows, pinned to lapels and of course worn around the neck.
Over 2,000 years of the Christian faith have seen the cross positioned as the most dominant symbol yet how easy it is for us to forget!
When Paul wrote to the Corinthians "I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified" in 1 Corinthians 2:2, he was making clear the shocking truth, that central to the Christian message is that the son of God was brutally tortured and put to death by means of a well-perfected barbaric Roman form of humiliation and execution.
The events we remember over the Easter season are not for polite conversation or family viewing. This is horrendous. This is God, acting in the most courageous, sacrificial way imaginable to save the world.
Without the sheer ugliness of the cross, the beauty and the victory of the empty tomb is impossible.
So this Easter, let's ask God to help us see beyond a mere Christian logo to an amazing declaration of God's love for each of us.