Summary: The cross. It always brings us to a crossroad. A crossroad is where you have to decide to go one way or the other. As difficult as it might have been, a choice has to be made and whatever commitment you make today determines your life tomorrow
Two water towers have always served as landmarks for travelers heading for their homes near Wauconda, IL but especially at the holidays. More than 40 years ago, John Kuester, then village police chief, suggested mounting lit large twin crosses on the towers to mark the season. Adopted by the village, the display of crosses along with Christmas lights became a tradition. But in 1989, Robert Sherman, spokesman for American Atheists, Inc., heard about the crosses. Since Wauconda’s crosses were on government property, Sherman saw an alleged violation of church and state. He delivered an ultimatum: remove the crosses from the water towers or meet in court. Several town hall meetings followed but ultimately the decision was forced by economics. Realizing a similar case had lost in court, the residents of Wauconda opted not to burden themselves with 100’s of 1000’s of dollars in court costs. But then a group of residents had the final say. Rosemary Buschick and her husband Chuck, went to the back room of their shop across from the Town Hall and constructed a window-sized cross with lights to display the next day. Will Shumaker, whose home appliance store is also on Main Street, also put up a cross. Within weeks, crosses were appearing on houses everywhere--attached to antennas, stuck in yards, beaming from trees, shining in windows." Two crosses had been replaced by 100’s.
The cross. It always brings us to a crossroad. A crossroad is where you have to decide to go one way or the other. As difficult as it might have been, a choice has to be made and whatever commitment you make today determines your life tomorrow. In Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken, the last line says, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” We all face crossroads but the most important crossroad you’ll ever have in your life is the decision that the resurrection was true. At that point, you don’t just believe it’s true, you commit all of you, everything you have, to this Jesus path. That can come with great sacrifices. Dale Pilgrim tells of when he was 19, he was in a relationship to a woman named Patty who meant a lot to him. He had been accepted to enter training to become a Salvation Army officer. But a week from leaving for St. John's Newfoundland, he wasn't packed, either physically or spiritually. One night when he came home in the late hours past midnight, he was surprised to see his parents sitting in the family room waiting for him. His Dad challenged him as he stood in the middle of the room to decide -- the relationship with 'Patty' or the road to serving Jesus through the Salvation Army. As they went off to bed, his dad turned and said, “Decide before you turn in!” There he sat, alone and in the dark, at a crossroads. And then he writes, “That night I decided to end the relationship with Patty. The next day, with broken heart and on my knees, my mom and dad flanked me in prayer on either side, and I surrendered to God.”
Whether you are a believer or someone for whom the jury is still out on the resurrection, the cross always brings us to a crossroad. The decision we make will not only make all the difference in this life but also in the life to come. Now if the resurrection is true, then all of us are going to be held accountable for the decision we make. This crossroads decision is not a onetime thing. There are two aspects to this decision. The first is to believe in the resurrection and the second is to live in the power of the resurrection and that means taking up your cross. You can’t live in the resurrection if you don’t first believe in it. And for many, that’s the biggest stumbling block of all. It’s a hard thing to believe because it violates everything we know and have experienced in life and death. How many people have you known who have died and were brought back to life? Miracles like that just don’t happen. Do any of you struggle with that? To believe in the resurrection is almost completely illogical. It violates all the laws of medicine and science.
To make a decision about the resurrection, it’s important to look at all of the facts, information and history about the resurrection. The resurrection is either fact or fiction. It is either history or a hoax. And if it didn’t happen, folks, I got better things to do than work weekends and holidays and risk my life in Haiti. The first evidence of historical fact is the empty tomb. No one has ever been able to produce the body or bones of Jesus Christ. That’s what sets us apart. No world religion claims the resurrection of their leader but one, and that’s Christianity. Here’s what is so amazing. 2600 years later, Mohammed’s body is still there. Every Muslim admits it. Don’t you think the enemies of the new Christian movement would have presented the body if they could to defeat everything the disciples were proclaiming and doing? They couldn’t because he was resurrected.