What the Cross Means to Me

By Dan Nowiski, Michigan USA/Canada Mission Center
Re-blogged from: Connect-Engage-Inspire

danandabbyThe cross calls me to live Christ’s mission. It serves as a reminder that Jesus’ ministry to the marginalized involved challenging structures that devalue human beings and separate people from living in community.
Crucifixion by the Roman government was reserved for those who threatened the stability and control of the empire. Jesus’ death on the cross teaches me that his ministry with the poor, the sick, and the captive disrupted the normal flow of life for those who exercised power and dominance in first-century Palestine.

To be a disciple of Christ in ministries of evangelism, compassion, justice, and peacemaking requires one to encounter and challenge the forces of empire.

Above all else, strive to be faithful to Christ’s vision of the peaceable Kingdom of God on earth. Courageously challenge cultural, political, and religious trends that are contrary to the reconciling and restoring purposes of God. Pursue peace. —Doctrine and Covenants 163:3b

Unrestrained consumption destroys creation, families, and communities in places around the world. It is my responsibility as a disciple to challenge those structures by making Responsible Choices in my own life, advocating for legal reforms, and engaging with neighbors in my community to withdraw from mindless consumerism in the material economy.

Ignoring those who toil in sweatshops or seeing their land destroyed so I can benefit from lower prices and disposable products designed only for convenience is no longer an option when I look at the cross.

Jesus’ bold action to live with and speak for the excluded and forgotten set him apart as a troublemaker. I expect the path of discipleship likewise will bring me into conflict with many who choose to pursue comfort and convenience at the expense of impoverished persons around the world.

I was born into a position of privilege. I could use my standing as a means for selfish advancement, or I could choose to follow the model of Christ and give voice to the abused and neglected.

Many days I fall short and take in more than my fair share of energy and resources from our environment. The symbol of the cross pushes me to continual repentance for my role in the abuse of my brothers and sisters around the world.

Christ transformed the Roman crucifix from a symbol of dominance and oppression to one of humility and freedom. The image of the cross drives me to personal transformation and sends me into the world as a witness of the coming reign of God.

If you truly would be Community of Christ, then embody and live the concerns and passion of Christ.
—Doctrine and Covenants 164:9d

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