Wearing a Cross – 5 March, 2018
A bishop wears a pectoral cross. This is mine.
This cross is a thousand years old. It is a pilgrim’s cross of Byzantine origin, made out of brass, with two decorated sides. On one side there is this image of Christ crucified. On the other side there is an image of Christ with his hands raised in prayer (orans). The cross can be opened, and between the two sides there is a cavity that at one time might have contained a relic or something else considered holy. When it was made this cross would have been cheap, like a souvenir you might purchase from a cathedral shop. Long ago someone somewhere bought this because they wanted to follow Jesus Christ.
I chose this cross because it was something I already had. It reminds me that I am one of millions of ordinary people trying to be faithful to Jesus Christ in my life. It also reminds me that the Christian faith is passed down from one generation to the next. Ensuring that this is done with integrity and faithfulness is one of the tasks of a bishop. We believe today because we have been taught the faith (all of it, including its cost) by the generations that have preceded us. In the epistle reading set for yesterday morning St Paul wrote: ‘we proclaim Christ crucified’. As we enter deeper into Lent, we are reminded that this is our task as pilgrims today.
We adore you, O Christ,
and we praise you,
because by your holy cross
you have redeemed the world.”