The Privileged Life: Looking for the Cross

(Photo: Unsplash)

“But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14)

A fellow blogger, Mama Lava, has encouraged her readers to look for heart-shaped images, in nature and elsewhere, as little reminders of God’s love for us.* I’ve found quite a few since then! 

While my husband and I were in Israel, I decided to keep my eyes open for hearts. Maybe they would turn up somewhere in all the rocks around us. 

One of our first stops was Bethsaida, at the Sea of Galilee. While we sat and listened to a devotional about spiritual revival, my eyes wandered to the rocks beneath my feet—where I saw a couple of twigs in an almost perfect cross. At that moment, I switched from looking for hearts to looking for crosses.

Throughout our trip, I was astounded at how many times the cross of Christ turned up. The expected star of David and Islamic symbols are everywhere, yet there’s also a significant presence of the cross throughout the region.

Some of the images are ancient—including those from Crusaders in the Middle Ages, who etched them on Jerusalem walls with their knives and swords. Other crosses are cast in iron gates, placed over doors, and perched on columns. 

The Jerusalem cross is, naturally, all over the city of Jerusalem. Its design, which has a square cross of Christ at its center, incorporates four smaller crosses. One possible meaning of the four extra crosses is the “four corners of the world”—north, south, east, west—where the Gospel message is to be sent.

Have you heard and accepted that Gospel message about salvation in Christ? Or are you still looking for meaning in your life? Does the cross really matter to you?

During this pre-Easter season, known as Lent, many believers walk through a time of introspection—looking at the sin in their lives, contemplating Jesus’ sacrificial death, and rediscovering how to surrender their lives in humble obedience to Him. It’s a moment for us to stop and look for His cross in our lives. 

I encourage you to keep your eyes open for His presence. Look for His cross. It could be hanging on a necklace or printed on a roadway sign. Or you may “see” it in an intangible way.

Maybe you’ll find His cross in a moment that calls for a sacrifice. Perhaps you’ll see someone else bearing a load—an opportunity for you to share the weight. You might see His cross in a prison cell, beside a hospital bed, next to you in the church pew as you worship. Look for His cross when you’re called to donate to Christian missions. 

Imagine His cross in front of you when you’re faced with turning the other cheek, especially in the increasingly hostile world of social media and politics. Cling to His cross when you encounter persecution, despair, and the troubles of this world.

Take a photo of His cross when you see it, and put it on your table or cellphone. Let it be a reminder to you, as we approach Easter, that Christ has claimed your soul. He has bought your freedom from sin and death, at the cost of His life, saving you a place in heaven.

This is the message of the cross. Let every remembrance bless you and keep you in His presence.

Jesus Christ, Savior of the World, we come to Your cross this season with adoration, repentance, and thanksgiving. You took Your sacrificial love for us to the cross, purchasing our redemption there at Calvary. May we always keep our eyes on You, and may Your Holy Spirit continue to abide with us as we abide in You. In Your name, Jesus, Amen.

*Mama Lava has a fabulous blogsite—check out her frequent posts, including this one about looking for Valentine hearts:

Crusader crosses from the Middle Ages, etched in the stone walls along a staircase going down into a subterranean room below the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem

Below the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem

The Jerusalem cross

The cap on a column at Caesarea Martitime

Inside the Garden Tomb, Jerusalem

St. George’s Anglican Cathedral courtyard, Jerusalem

In Jerusalem

Entrance at the Garden of Gethsemane, Mount of Olives at Jerusalem

Random sticks lying together in the rocks, at the ruins of Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee

#holylands #israel #pilgrimage #journey #lookingtothecross #crossofChrist

© Copyright 2023 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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