by Byron Pellecer, Associate Conference Minister (Texas-Based)
It is in the midst of the turbulent times that we live in, filled with violence, darkness and sentiments of racism and racial profiling, just to name a few, that I found the cross not just a “symbol” of Christian faith. Rather, I find it instrumental in Christian formation.
It provides meaning to my Christian journey and it is a reminder of God’s love, servant leadership, hope for a better tomorrow and a call to costly discipleship among many other things. I am also aware that the cross might mean something different for other people too, like power and dominion, and the list goes on and on.
However, the shape of the cross allows me to reflect on my relationships, the vertical and the horizontal. Vertically, it checks my connection with God, the proclamation of his kingdom and his mission in the world and across the streets. Horizontally, it checks my connection with family and friends, with neighbors and community, with culture and with both local and global society.
In conversations with some people, in an effort to connect and build relationship with them, I have found that some of them refer to the cross as a symbol of hardship and pain or something difficult to bear in life.
As is, life can be very complex and sometimes, it can be hard! There is no need to add more pain to life, rather we need to keep looking for some sparkles of hope in the midst of the difficulties in life. Sometimes experiencing hardship in life make us feel alone and abandoned.
A lot of times in my life, I have felt like life is not fair at all. But I have to say too, there has been a lot of things in life that bring joy, hope and healing.
I get to visit established and emerging congregations and I have seen, in both settings, people that seemed like they have gone or are going through very rough patches in life due to so many reasons.
Sometimes adversity and affliction tend to push our humanness to experience unworthiness, causing feelings of loneliness and abandonment. Such is the pain that we tend to suppress such experiences and its memories because humanly speaking, we feel like life is fading away.
On one hand, while experiencing adversity, sorrow and pain in life, one might be tempted to pray or want to have a great power to not only hold back one’s painful experiences, but if possible, to erase them for good from one’s mind and heart.
It is in the midst of situations and human conditions like those, that I find the cross to be not just a symbol but rather some sort of Global Positioning System (GPS), it helps to find my true north, hope and challenge that is. Personally, I want to find the courage and inspiration to live a life abundantly in spite of the turbulent times that I face nowadays. Let us keep turning to the cross, to Scripture, to Christ and let’s find light for our human condition whichever that may be.
Allow me to close by saying that I find in the cross a challenge to be missional, starting in own local -barrio- community. Let us keep sharing Christ by establishing and building relationships with those around us through service and word. After all, the cross is a way of living, not just an emblem, of Christ’s follower.