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What is the cross?  Is it just some kind of nice jewelry to wear around your neck?  Or stick on you lapel?

Do we think of the cross as a cultural symbol?  Or some other kind of symbol?

Or do we think of the cross as something different?

The cross stands for many things.  Or rather, many people have associated the cross with many things.

The cross goes beyond just facing a setback or hardship.  The cross symbolizes persecution and death at its core.  When it was used – it was an instrument of death for those in opposition to the empire and the emperor.

I heard a sermon talk about the cross and the preacher noted that 10 of the 11 remaining Apostles (minus Judas of course) were all killed because of following Jesus.  Some were even crucified.  One died alone and poor.

The cross is the symbol of Christianity.  Think about that for a moment.  An instrument of death that was used by the empire is our symbol.  It’s the ultimate symbol that shows that Christianity isn’t in tune with the culture – any culture.  We don’t have room to whine about how the culture doesn’t follow our rules.

Being a Christian and taking up the cross isn’t about a life of comfort, or being in the majority in a culture.

It’s about being chosen as an outcast – being with the outcasts and outsiders of society.

Being a Christian and taking up the cross doesn’t mean the culture bends to our will and wants and desires and beliefs.  It means we face the culture – a far different culture than what Christianity actually stands for and promotes – and we live differently.  Not crying that we are persecuted – especially when we really aren’t, but we live in love of our neighbor and those that would want to call Christianity an enemy.

Being a Christian doesn’t mean there is room in our lives for hubris and celebrity – demanding that we get our way – but humility in seeing that we are amazed that God can work even through us to do anything at all.

The cross is more than just something to wear.  It’s a reminder of the life we are called to live.  A life in which we die to self and serve God and others.