“So I notice you’re wearing a new piece of jewelry,” my friend remarked as soon as we hugged our hellos.
My hand went up on the cross hanging on the chain around my neck.
“Why,” he asked?
My husband asked me recently what I would like for my birthday, and I told him a simple silver cross. I had been mulling it over for quite a while, and had some qualms, but as it had kept coming to mind, I went ahead and asked.
I was concerned that:
1. It was not something I should spend money on. I didn’t *need* it. I could spend the money on more practical things, or perhaps do some good with it. How much would be appropriate or in appropriate?
I guess I look here at the example of the woman annointing Jesus with expensive perfume. Yes, it could have been used for the poor. But it was used to glorify and worship him, and he approved.
2. It is appropriate to wear a cross at all. This is what our lord died on. Is it really good that a person would wear it as a symbol or decoration?
On this point, I look the leaders of my church, along with my Christian brothers and sisters. If it were inappropriate, I don’t believe they would do it. While I’ve heard a lot of complaint against people desecrating the cross, I don’t hear anything about it being inappropriate if worn as a symbol of faith.
3. I was buying into the “brand” of Christianity. A consumer culture teaches us to buy what we identify with. I walk into a Christian bookstore and get a little queasy at the wares for sale with the brand of Christ and the plethora of best-sellers.
I don’t think this is in my heart, but I want to be aware of the danger.
So what did happen?
First, the cross I received was simply beautiful. My husband gave me one of white gold instead of silver. I could make a fuss and return it for something simpler, but he would be offended, and well, it is…so…shiny.
We Gen-X’er joke about shiny things. How we are shallow and distracted by surface shininess.
But this cross shines across the room. It is unmistakable. It draws people’s eyes, not for it’s opulence or splendor, but despite it’s simplicity and commonness, it gleams. It tells people. An acquaintence’s six year old daughter spoke to me about it. At that age, friends of your parents might as well be rocks for all you notice them. But it caught even her attention.
Since I put it on, I knew it would mean more than I imagined.
Each time I look in the mirror, I am reminded. I am his. I am living for him. I am carrying his cross, not only literally on a chain, but each day I deny myself, take up my cross and follow him. I cannot forget.
I wear it every day, and it is a communication to the world…to my neighbors and co-workers and husband and family that I am his. And I am representing him to them. How I act – how I show my love. They see the cross and they see me. They should be seeing Christ in me. And that’s a huge, concrete, daily responsibility.
I have had impulses to take it off in certain situations. It’s been harder than I thought. I am stripped of my anonymity. They look at the shiny cross, and they look in my eyes and they know it’s not intended for decoration. It’s for keeps.
Those other concerns pale to the reality of the shiny cross.