Unpopular Christianity


And Jesus said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (NRSV, Luke 9:23)

Holy Cross Day is a feast which was originally instituted to commemorate the dedication of the first Church of the Holy Sepulchre on September 14th 335 AD, upon the site of the Saviour’s Crucifixion.  But the feast also serves to recall the essential character of the Christian religion by reminding us of the Cross which is, with good reason, its specific symbol.

We are accustomed to crosses and crucifixes.  But in Christ’s day there were no crucifixes, only crucifixions.  Public crucifixion was an everyday punishment for dangerous criminals; and so, for a cross to be placed on God’s altar then, would have caused the same feelings of revulsion that we should experience today if we saw on our altars a model of a gallows.

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