This week’s article is written by the Rev. Jim Wheeler, a member of Godfrey First United Methodist Church, 1100 Airport Road.
In the Christian community, we are in the season of Lent, which runs from Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday, also called Passion Sunday. It’s the story of Jesus moving toward the cross of Good Friday and the resurrection on Easter Sunday.
Especially prominent in Lent is the symbol of the cross upon which Jesus died. Crosses have their own history even before Jesus. Ancient Greeks and Romans, long before the time of Jesus, marked a cross on bread, representing the four quarters of the moon. Christianity reworked that tradition. Bread represents the body of Christ in the sacrament of communion. The cross symbolized his sacrifice for us and our sacrifice for him. Thus the tradition of “hot cross buns” celebrated by Moravians and others.
The crossbeam is familiar and vital in any construction project, as carpenters and contractors know. Building houses or bridges would be impossible without them. A crossbeam, or traverse, is a horizontal beam generally supported by at least two supports. In houses, crossbeams are called joists, headers or rafters, and they are vital for supporting and stabilizing the construction.
Likewise, the cross is vital to stabilizing and supporting Christian faith and life. The cross represents the sacrifice that blesses, the giving up that others might gain. It supports the love we build around it. We carry the mark of Ash Wednesday, the cross of Jesus, in our hearts.