February 5, 2013

Unexpected Crosses

Recently, I talked about the controversy in Jackson, OH, over the display of a portrait of Jesus in a middle school. This is only one in a long list of cases where groups have been trying for some time to remove Christian symbols from public spaces. At the end of my comments on the Jackson situation, though, I talked about the blessing of remembering that - even if all our symbols were somehow taken away - no one can ever take Christ away!

As the hymn says...     "He lives within my heart!"    

That said, I don't believe there will ever come a time when - just as I did here with the examples of sunlight and snowflakes, or as I do on my other blog with popular music, movies and TV - a discerning Christian won't be able to see symbols of God's love wherever he goes.

"For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities
 - his eternal power and divine nature - 
have been clearly seen,  
being understood from what has been made, 
so that men are without excuse."
            - Romans 1:20 (NIV)

If you expect it and look for it, God will reveal himself even in some of the most unexpected places. Here are four places where I've seen the cross on public display, and neither the ACLU nor anyone else can do anything about it!

1. Doors

In the Old Testament, God told the Israelites to put Scriptures on doorposts and gates so they would remember to honor the Lord whenever they went out or came in. Similarly, when I notice a cross on a door, I'm reminded that God is everywhere, he sees everything, and the grace of Jesus is meant for everyone. It also brings to mind the words of Jesus in John 10:9, where he says,

"I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved
and will come in and go out and find pasture."

And I think of John 14:6, where Jesus says,

"I am the way, and the truth, and the life. 
No one comes to the Father except through me."

God should be honored everywhere you go, and you should share the Good News - THAT JESUS DIED TO SAVE SINNERS! - with everyone, wherever the opportunity arises!

2. Telephone Poles

A cross on a telephone pole doesn't just remind me again of the need to communicate the Gospel to others. It also dials up images of God using the Bible, the Holy Spirit and other means to reach out and touch us, to call us into a relationship and a life of holiness. And it reminds me that we're all connected, and God expects us to pass on messages of love instead of hatred (1 John 4:20).

The biggest thing to me about that tall cross, though, is how it calls attention to the blessing of being able to converse with the Almighty in prayer (Hebrews 10:19-22). With God, there's no such thing as "call waiting" - I can get on the line with him any time I like - even if I run out of cell phone minutes!

And thinking of that calls to mind how Jesus taught his disciples to pray in Matthew 6; how he prayed for all believers in John 17; and how, after his crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus went to heaven, where he continues to pray for us.

"Christ Jesus, who died    
  - more than that, who was raised to life - 
is at the right hand of God  
and is also interceding for us."
            - Romans 8:34b (NIV)

3. Tow Trucks

This one really surprised me when I first noticed it, but it got me thinking. When you're caught doing something you shouldn't, a tow truck may not be a very welcome sight, because it condemns your car to the impound lot. But when you get stuck or broken down and call for help, it can be your salvation!

(See Romans 6:23 and 1 John 1:8-9)

4. Windows

If I'm out somewhere and notice that a window has a cross in it, I observe that God is watching over me. I can trust him because I know he loves me, and I know he will take care of me!

The idea of looking through a window with a cross in it makes me think of the responsibility to look at others "through the eyes of God" - with love and forgiveness. As we have received these from the Lord, so we must offer them to those around us - especially if we think they don't deserve it! - because we never deserved what Jesus did for us ! (1 John 4:9-11; Matthew 18:21-35)

The cross in the window also encourages me to continue to view the world through "holy eyes" by looking for God everywhere. Whether he reveals himself through nature, through other people, through popular media, through the Bible, prayer, a still small voice or even just random objects - like a door, a telephone pole, a tow truck or a window! - God is constantly reaching out, and you can see him if you try!

"When you search for me,         
     you will find me; 
if you seek me with all your heart..."
          - Jeremiah 29:13

I always feel blessed whenever I see a sign of God and his love.

When was the last time you noticed an unexpected cross or another symbol of God's love?
     Feel free to share your experience in the comments section.

If you look at the world through "holy eyes"...
...you might just see a blessing you never expected!

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