Living Beneath the Lighted Cross – A Personal Reflection
By Paul Riddle
Overlooking the sanctuary of Bering Drive Church of Christ, where I worship, is an illuminated cross. To one side, behind a decorative brick wall, there is a light switch, which controls the light that illuminates the cross. Posted on the wall next to the switch is a note, written many years ago by Bill Love, who was minister of that church for over twenty years. The note says, “This switch is always to remain on, out of respect for Jesus, and to remind us that we, his disciples, are called to live under his cross.” The first time I saw that note I was moved – not only by fond memories of Bill, but more importantly by the power of the symbol of the illuminated cross.
The always-lighted cross in my place of worship challenges me to reflect on the relationship between worship and the rest of my life. What light does the cross cast on, say, my Monday morning commute? How about my dealings with patients on Tuesday afternoon? How does it illuminate the way I treat the person behind the counter at the sandwich shop at lunch on Wednesday? The mechanic at the garage on Thursday? My wife when she comes home after a long day at work?
How does the cross illuminate my sense of self-worth? My ideas about what constitutes success? My attitude toward failure (my own failures and those of others)? My decisions about how to use my time, my money, and my talents? By the way, does the cross cast a critical light on that little word “my?”
The lighted cross also stands as a beacon of hope, reminding me that love is more powerful than hatred, that hope is stronger than despair, and that God is deeply and personally invested in me, in you, and in the redemption of all humanity. Far from being merely a pious decoration, the lighted cross is a potent reminder of the bond we Christians share in our Lord, of the sacrifice that forged that bond, of the love that motivated the sacrifice, and of the life to which we who live under it are called – both when we worship together and then go our separate ways to be salt and light in the world.