cross – ‘kross – a structure consisting of an upright with a transverse beam used especially by the ancient Romans for execution (b) often capitalized : the cross on which Jesus was crucified

cru·ci·fix -: a representation of Christ on the cross

 I grew up in the Catholic church. A big beautiful crucifix was always prominently displayed in our church, on the nuns and priests, and carried by the parishioners.

When I started going to the Baptist church, or the protestant church, the crucifix was no longer a part of the church. The evangelical churches replaced the crucifix with the cross. I have always heard the reason for the cross over the crucifix is because, “We don’t worship a dead Christ who is still on the Cross. We follow a resurrected Christ who is alive and not on the cross.”

I have to admit, it felt good to have a cross representing our alive Jesus over having Jesus still dead on the cross. Isn’t that what the Bible teaches? Isn’t that the very essence of the Good News of the Gospel that Jesus sacrificed himself for our sins, was buried, and rose again on he third day so that those of us who believe are cleansed of our sins and we have victory over death also? Of course….Thus the empty cross.

But wait a minute. Do we really believe what we say we believe? Do we really believe the Good News of the Gospel? Do we really believe that Jesus died for us? I don’t know, I mean, maybe, I mean yes, I mean of course, once saved always saved, right? Do we live what we say we believe? Do we worship, I mean really worship, the one who died for us?

Is it possible that an empty cross makes it harder for us to remember the sacrifice that bought our freedom? Is it possible we take God’s grace for granted because we take the cross for granted?

The apostle Paul wrote, I am not one of those who treats the grace of God as meaningless. For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die. (Gal 2:21)

Does an empty cross, in our human state of mind, facilitate a distance from what happened on the cross which in turn leads us into treating the grace of God as meaningless?   Just thinking …

Do we need to rewatch “The Passion of Christ” movie several times a year to remind us?

What if every church had a cross and a crucifix? What if every time you walked into a service you saw the crucifix, a visualization of Christ’s sacrifice, and beside it a cross, a reminder of the resurrection?

Just a thought.

Thank you Jesus for loving us so much. May we never forget, and may we live our lives as people who are extremely grateful, and tell many others the good news and show them the crucifix and the cross.

What do you think?  Cross or Crucifix or maybe, both?