By Rev. Dr. Curian Kaniyamparambil
Traditional churches through out the world respect the cross. It is only the modern Christian communities who speak against the cross. Yet my duty is to teach all, against all such interpretations and arguments, however irrelevant it may be, and however small the community may be.
The proponents of this argument quote one of the 10 commandments.
"I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods beside me." Exodus (29:1-3).
They suggests that respecting the cross (to make, respect, and bowing to a cross) is against this law of God.
In the book of Exodus, we can see that, God asked Moses to erect a bronze snake and commanded to look to it to be saved. Wasn't it against the commandment of God? Again Moses made a propitiatory and cherubim and prayed to it (Exodus 25:22, 2 Samuel 6:5, 14). So didn't Moses and the people there break that law (i.e. the 10 commandments)?
People bring all sorts of arguments against the truth. Recently I read that the churches took the cross from the gentiles, as they had something similar to a cross. The same article states that Christ was not crucified on a cross but on a single piece of wood. The Bible clearly states that His hands were nailed and that He was crucified along with two criminals.
Saying all this, we never explained what the cross is, what it signifies, and why we use it as a respected symbol. We can always make a case against the cross by arguing that it was used to crucify Jesus and instead of respecting it, we should hate it. Then why is it that we respect the cross?
A cross signifies the essence of the gospels. We make a sign of the cross by bringing down the hand from the forehead to the chest and from chest to the left shoulder and then to the right shoulder. Moving your hand from forehead to the chest signifies that Jesus came down from heaven to earth for our sins, and moving the hand from chest to the left shoulder says that his beloved people were under the sins of Satan, and by moving from the left to the right shoulder signifies that Jesus liberated us from the shackles of Satan to the status of children of God.
This practice of signing ourselves with the cross did not develop in the church over a period of time as is alleged. The early church members had this practice.
Tertullian (AD 155) We take anxious care lest something of our Cup or Bread should fall upon the ground. At every forward step and movement, when coming in and going out, when putting on our clothes, when putting on our shoes, when bathing, when at table, when lighting the lamps, when reclining, when sitting, in all the ordinary occupations of our daily lives, we furrow our forehead with the sign of the cross. (367)
St. Cyril of Jerusalem (AD 315 - 386) St. Cyril who was the Bishop of Jerusalem has written about the cross on which Christ was crucified and was discovered by Queen Helena from Jerusalem. The Holy wood of the Cross among us seen to the present day and now fillings almost the whole world by means of those, who in faith, take away from here portions of it.
St. Jerome who was the contemporary of Queen of Helena says Prostrate before the cross, she worshipped as though she saw the Lord hanging thereon. The Biblical Encyclopedia says that it is certain that the Christians made the sign of the cross on themselves in the 2nd century.
Mar Baselious (AD 329-379) says that the apostles established the practice of crossing themselves. Before dining they used to draw a cross on the food. Soldiers would cross on his forehead. When we pray or when we read the Bible or when we preach we will do a cross. During the time of Baptism we draw a cross on the forehead and chest. Also one would do a cross in our prayers (Majority of the modern churches do not sign themselves a cross).
Eusebious has stated that there were crosses with jewels embedded in it during his time (4th century).
Mt. 10:38 - "He who does not take the cross and follow me is not worthy of me."
Luke 9:23 - "If any man would come after me let him deny himself and take up the cross daily & follow me."
Gal 6:14 - "Our glory is on the cross of the Lord."
1 Cor. 1:17 - The cross of Christ is God's power over us."
Phil. 3:18-19 - The end of the enemies of the cross is decay."
Eph. 2:14 - The enmity is stopped and we are reconciled in the Cross.
The cross reminds the church that it is the basis of Christianity and all of the sacraments. When we bow and kiss the cross, it is a kiss in respect to Jesus Christ who died on the cross for us.
TOC Section 1 (Q 1-26) | Sec 2 (Q 27-56) | Sec 3 (Q 57-81) | Sec 4 (Q 82-115) | Sec 5 (Q 116-135) | Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
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