Summary: Glory of the Cross (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
• Galatians chapter 6 verse 14.
• 1 Corinthians chapter 1 verse 18
• In Hereford, there is a little village called Bredwardine’;
• Like many villages it contains an old Anglican church.
• For many years on the altar of that church stood a cross,
• It was very old and dirty, and no one ever took much notice of it.
• Then one day one of the villagers died,
• And in her will she left a sum of money to the Church.
• Along with the money was some clear instructions;
• That the money be used for the purpose of cleaning the cross,
• So with the money banked;
• The vicar of the church sent the cross away to the local jewellers,
• A few weeks later when the dirt and the grime was removed from this very old cross,
• It was discovered that it was made of solid silver,
• And it was studded in the upright and the cross piece with emeralds,
• It was worth a small fortune!
If you visit that Church today:
• You will discover that the cross no longer stands on the altar:
• It is kept in a safe, and is only brought out when a service is about to take place.
• The cross there was: a very beautiful piece of jewellery,
• A beautiful ornament,
• In Coventry the city I grew up in;
• One of its many claims to fame are two cathedrals.
• The old one which on the night of 14 November 1940;
• Was bombed, destroyed and left as ruins by the German Luftwaffe.
• And the new one designed by Basil Spence;
• Finished on 25 May 1962, to replace the one that had been destroyed.
• Just as the new cathedral was being finished;
• A cross was lowered by helicopter and placed on top of it.
• It was and still is a symbol for all to see.
• And you can still look out over the city skyline and see the cross.
We live in a world that struggles to understand the cross:
• To lots of people the cross is an ornament, or a piece of beautiful jewellery,
• People who have no interest whatever in Christianity or Christian things will were a cross,
• To many people the cross is a symbol:
• The great symbol of Christianity,
BUT TO THE EARLY CHRISTIANS:
• The cross certainly was not an ornament,
• Nor was it a symbol, of Christianity,
• The fish preceded the cross as a symbol of Christianity
• The cross did not become a symbol of Christianity until about the fourth century.
• To the early Christians the cross was always a message,
• And in the New Testament the cross is a message,
• Not a symbol,
• Not an ornament,
• But a message.
Paul in the letter to the Corinthians chapter 1 verse 18 says,
"The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,
But to us who are being saved it is the power of God".
• N.I.V. “The message of the cross”
• Some versions say; “The preaching of the cross”.
• It literally reads the ‘logos’ of the cross;