Christians need to re-envision the meaning of the Cross in history and in our culture, such that we are equipped to go and do the Gospel that shapes us in a confused, broken, unjust and often violent world, says Simon Barrow. This will help us see that it is not true that the only ‘weapons’ at the Church's disposal are not the coercive ones wielded by our opponents. Rather, God’s cross points to the resources of suffering love that only the God of life can offer, because they are ‘beyond our means’ humanly, but not beyond divine gifting.
Much has been written about the meaning of the cross, a subject on which Christians hold varying views, says Savitri Hensman. In Christ’s sacrifice, the true horror is exposed and the hope of a different way of life revealed. This can be difficult to comprehend, but it cannot be ignored or sidelined.
Yesterday (15 January 2013) the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) handed down its judgements on four cases in which Christians have claimed to have been made subject to unlawful discrimination.The only claim upheld was that of Nadia Eweida, a member of British Airways check-in staff who had been prevented from wearing a cross on her uniform under a no jewellery policy subsequently modified by the company.
Writing on his eChurch blog, Stuart James, who has been following the Eweida, Chaplin, Ladele and McFarlane cases thoughtfully, comments that there is one thing we can guarantee. When the European Court of Human Rights judgement on alleged 'discrimination against Christians' claims is published (that happened this morning), there will be "a flurry of ill-informed, polemic, alarmist headlines, and articles."
The God whom Christians worship is no stranger to suffering and defeat, says Savi Hensman. The cross is at the heart of the faith, with all its richness of meaning, including the divine willingness to engage at the deepest level with a flawed and broken world, for love’s sake to confront the forces of death and destruction and pay the price.
Next to efforts to explain Christian trinitarian language for God, it is sermonising on the message of the cross and the meaning of the resurrection that I often find most painful at this time of year.
A setting by an 18th century German composer of a translation into his own tongue of a Greek account of the trial and execution of an Iron Age Mediterranean religious radical, performed in a 15th century English church. This cultural, artistic and creative hybrid has enabled Jill Segger to think afresh about the death of Jesus and its meaning.