Meet my good friend and guest blogger, Kathleen Gibson. Her weekly faith and life newspaper column, Sunny Side Up, is available online at www.kathleengibson.ca . She is the author of West Nile Diary, One Couple’s Triumph Over a Deadly Disease, and Practice by Practice, the Art of Everyday Faith.
I spent a few pleasurable years working as a floral designer. One day, as I prepared to close our shop, a very fair young man dashed in the door. “I’d like a dozen red roses, please,” he panted.
“Aha,” I said, opening the cooler. “On your way to see someone special?”
“Yeah, my girlfriend.”
I chose twelve of the nicest scarlets. As I stripped the thorns, gave each flower a fresh cut, and inserted them in water picks, he chattered eagerly about his gal.
Noticing an unusual cross around his neck I commented that it looked handmade. “Tell me about it,” I said. Somewhat reluctantly he switched topics from girl to cross, explaining how it was made and how he’d come to own it.
I decided to push him. I don’t know why; I’m not always so bold. “But what does it mean to you, personally? Does the symbol of the cross have any special significance for you?”
His pale skin flushed red as a prairie sunset. He glanced around for an escape, cleared his throat, and shifted from left foot to right. When he finally spoke, he stammered. “Well, uh, yeah.”
I was beginning to enjoy the show. “Really? How so?”
The young man took a deep, slow breath, and suddenly his demeanor changed. He stood a little taller, looked me directly in the eye. “I’m a Christian. I believe something important happened on a cross a very long time ago. Jesus Christ died there for my sins. That’s why I wear this cross, because it reminds me of that.”
I chuckled. “Well done, young man. I’m a Christian too. That was a test, you see. You can save your Bible verses for the next person who asks. They might need them more than I.” He laughed then. We both did, he in relief, and me at his relief.
I wear a cross, too. A gold one; given me by my sister and brother-in-law as a thank you gift for caring for their three small children during a very difficult time. I value it for that reason. But there’s another reason I cherish the cross about my neck. Like the young man in the flower shop, my cross represents far more.
The Bible tells me I was born contrary. A sinner in need of forgiveness and connection with the greatest power in the universe. The cross is the plus sign that connects the power of a Holy God with his rebellious creation. Me. The sum of those two parts transformed my contrary nature into something fresh and new, erased my sin, and changed my eternal destiny. All I had to do was accept, love, trust, and obey the Jesus who died on that cross and rose again three days later.
If you wear a cross, are you prepared to answer for it?