1. The Ultimate Symbol of Love. St. John the Evangelist tells us, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him will not perish but will have eternal life.”(1) What greater love is there than to lay down your life for others?
2. Victory Over All Evil. Many hymns of our church recall how Adam and Eve were sent out of paradise because of a tree. They ate fruit from the forbidden tree. And yet it is also a tree that opened the doors of paradise once again for all believers, the tree of the Cross.
3. Eternal Hope. Hope that is greater than the darkest despair. When Jesus was crucified, his disciples and followers all despaired. For three days they lived in complete despair. And yet, after the resurrection, they understood that the Cross is a new way. It was no longer a symbol of despair, but it was now a sign of hope for all people, a hope for new life eternal.
4. A Symbol of Power. Often in the world, it seems that evil conquers good and that sin is stronger than virtue. Yet the sign of the Cross reminds us that sin will not have the last say. Evil will not last forever. For in the sign of the cross do we say that God, the Greatest Power of All, is with us and we are with Him.
5. A Source of Peace. In the uncertain times of daily living, making the sign of the cross brings peace to us for by doing this we turn ourselves over to God’s will. And knowing that He is Love and Goodness in Abundance – we can take peace in knowing that His will for us is greater than we can ever do for ourselves.
6. A Borrowing of His Strength. Evil and suffering may appear to win for a time (as it did for the apostles for the three days Jesus was absent), but then comes the resurrection. And in this victory over death, does Hope spring forth and our strength is renewed. The Cross is both our breast plate of protection and our sword of strength to defeat the wiles of this dying world.
7. A Fountain of Endurance. Throughout the history of mankind, darkness has been present. Making the sign of the Cross reminds us that God too has ever been present and has never abandoned us. Noah endured the laughs and ridicule of the onlookers as he built our salvation. Joseph endured captivity that he may be called to deliver us from famine. Moses endured the cleansing of his former dead-living that he may be chosen to lead us from bondage. Joshua endured 40 years in the desert that we may follow him to the promised land. Zacharias endured nine months of muteness that he may proclaim the glory of God’s will, “His name is John.”(2) The blind man endured a lifetime of darkness that he may glorify the miracle of God’s Son(3). The fountain of God’s endurance is waiting for you to drink your fill. Bring a cup, bring a bowl, bring your parched and weary soul.
(1) John 3:16
(2) Luke 1:63
(3) John 9