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A dozen crosses in my house (but no shroud of Jesus in my toast)

May 28, 2014

I have written before (here) of our practice as a congregation to hold Sunday morning worship services in homes 3-4 times a year as a way of being more “New Testament” or like the early church. We meet as small groups or house churches, which form the basic structure of our church, a congregation of about 130 people (not everyone participates in house churches, and that’s o.k.).

This past April, I hosted my house church meeting at our home (my husband had to work that Sunday) and in a quiet moment of reflection during our service that morning I was stunned to notice something in my house (built seven years ago) I had never observed before.

I looked up after a prayer and my eyes were drawn to a cross in our living room.


There on a closet door in the living room was a perfect, stunning cross. Then I realized it was visible everywhere we had an inside door: on closet doors, bedroom doors, bathroom doors.

Why had I never become aware of it before? Why did I suddenly see it in that moment?

The doors are just simple six-panel wooden doors available in any big box home improvement store, but the cross bars and upright are dimensioned as a typical cross.


Now you’re going to think I’m going to mention seeing a shrouded Jesus in my toast this morning too. I don’t wish to make too much of it, but if the photographer* who looked up and saw this skyline configuration and realized it formed a cross and submitted it as a church bulletin cover, he or she too was noticing a nice symbolic image in his or her daily landscape.


We are people of the cross. Theologians debate various theories and some try to downplay the role of the cross in the Christian faith, believing a good and loving God would not “demand” such violence as integral to Christian faith, or ask that God’s son die such a cruel and horrible death. Isn’t that the same as abuse, they ponder? How is it different than Abraham “almost” sacrificing his son Isaac before the little lamb shows up? How can Christians be comforted and believe such things?

I believe that God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the great Three-in-One however, so it is God who also suffered the agony of the cross in the form of Jesus. It is God who endured that intense pain. It is God who so loved the world …

If we can’t believe in the truth of the cross then we don’t have much of a religion. I will leave it to minds greater than mine to debate and theorize (and the link I included above does a decent job of covering some of the issues being debated). But I believe with the Apostle Paul:

“… We proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” (I Corinthians 1:22-25)

We are still in the Easter season, and as the song says “Every morning is Easter morning from now on.” Thanks be to God our faith doesn’t end with the cross, but with the empty tomb and life everlasting in the presence of that loving God.

So my house is filled with these gentle (albeit horrific) reminders of the love and grace extended to all humans, and the potential by faith to grasp and claim God’s love for all.


Is the cross a difficult symbol for you? Why or why not?


* I wish the people who made bulletin covers would identify photographers and locations for their photos but they never do, so I’ll just identify it with the copyright as printed on cover, MWM Dexter, Inc., Aurora, Missouri © and indicate it was selected as PC9USA) Bulletin No. 14F04.

(My slightly late but sincere entry for a special May Mennonerds blog series on Anabaptist convictions, one of which needs to be believing in the centrality of Jesus and his death on the cross.)

For more on what some believe about the cross, check Third Way Cafe.


From → Faith

  1. The cross is a difficult symbol for me only if it’s a crucifix, which seems to overlook the resurrection and our blessed hope. Otherwise, the cross is a source of inspiration for me. I like how your awareness prompted you to see what was invisible before. Just now I thought of the crossbar and other imagery in Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” Any connection with this poem?

    I actually see two crosses on your door, Melodie. Lovely post!

  2. Have you ever stayed at a convent for a retreat etc. and have a crucifix hanging over your bed? I agree, it makes a different statement and connection. I wasn’t even going to write this post, people have such a debate over the cross, and then I was reading Anne Rice’s book about her return to faith and she talks about the impact of these early images and icons on her faith before she could read or talk, and I thought, well, it is worth writing about. Thanks for your comment and I’ll have to go back and read Coleridge.

  3. When we visited Italy in 1999, we stayed for several nights in a convent in Rome (St. John the Baptist) and of course there were crucifixes everywhere. No problem – after all, we wanted to sample a different life-style and got the full effect for sure!

  4. What a gift to suddenly see all of the crosses in your home! And I love the practice of meeting in homes several times throughout the year too . Thank you for sharing this.

  5. Thanks, April for your comment. Our pastor loves the practice too (actually she just retired, but they were her “favorite Sundays.” 🙂 For more than just her “breather.”

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