The festival known as Holy Cross Day came about in the fourth century as a special day to celebrate Jesus’ victory over sin by his death on a cross. It’s not surprising, then, that one of the assigned readings is from John’s gospel:
Yes, God so loved the world
as to give the Only Begotten One,
that whoever believes may not die,
but have eternal life.
God sent the Only Begotten into the world
not to condemn the world,
but that through the Only Begotten
the world might be saved. (John 3:16-17, The Inclusive Bible)
These verses are perhaps the most famous of all biblical texts. They remind us that Jesus’ death transformed a symbol of execution into a symbol of God’s love and salvation. In a way, today’s festival is a way to remember that God uses unlikely things to bring new life to creation.
Even though that sounds like sheer good news, many Christians also use the cross to beat non-Christians over the head. God didn’t send her Son so that we could condemn, exclude, or persecute others, but rather that all people might experience resurrection.
Can you take a moment to remind someone of that today? Can you help someone see where God might be working in their life through unlikely means? Can you help them see God’s love shining through them?