Some distortions are so brazen it’s difficult to understand their appeal. This Sunday’s feast day of the Exaltation of the Cross is one such distortion. Would Christians consider celebrating a feast day named The Extolling of the Electric Chair or The Acclaim of the AK 47? Would Christians wear one of those instruments of death around their neck as a piece of jewelry if it were the weapon used to kill Jesus? While the normalizing and sanctifying of the additional weapons seems bizarre each is no less bizarre than the Exaltation of the Cross.
The exaltation of any deadly weapon, certainly the cross, is in direct proportion to the diminishment and distortion of Jesus’ life witness. It’s also a specific repudiation of Jesus’ teachings about the cross. He repeatedly identified the cross as an instrument of torture in the arsenal of those intent upon killing him. He also told followers to take up their cross thus encouraging disciples not to fix weapons upon others but rather bear and transform, as he did, the people and weapons fixed upon us. The Roman Emperor Constantine is responsible for starting the cult of the cross within Christianity. As he convinced Christians it was a sign of salvation so subsequent warriors have convinced Christians the weapons of their era would save them. Thus diverted and diverting Christians have exalted the sword, the crossbow, the rifle, the A bomb, and, of late, the drone.
It is because U.S. Christians have been so diverted from Jesus’ weaponless witness that a self-identified Christian named Pat Robertson, with millions of followers, could exalt in the weapons of this era and encourage their use. This past week he heartily encouraged open carry for Christian congregants not only in society but in their churches saying: “Blessed are the fully Armed for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Prayer: Dear Jesus, I hold your loving witness in highest regard.
Question: What are the consequences of a Christianity diverted toward the cross and away from Jesus’ life witness?
September 14, 2014 Gospel John 3:13-17 Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross