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The Cross is Central

The cross is central.


Pastor Jim used these words last Sunday as he called our attention to the crucifix, the unique image of Christ crucified. It is arguably the single most meaningful image of our faith, and it is, at its heart, a paradox. A contradiction. The cross was an instrument of death. But our cross, Jesus’s cross - the crucifix - is our God’s way of bringing new life.


But for all its theological depth, the mere shape of the cross has always fascinated me. However it’s depicted - upper case “T” or lower case “t” - it requires two lines to intersect each other. It is, literally, a crossing, and that physical crossing reminds me of the many contradictions found within Jesus’s teachings, one of which we see in Sunday’s Gospel when he says, “No one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” It seems to make perfect sense to Jesus, but Nicodemus gives voice to our human confusion. He asks Jesus, ““How can anyone be born after having grown old?”


Jesus answers the question essentially by repeating himself, leaving Nicodemus - and us - to find meaning in Jesus’s seemingly contradictory words.