BBT once told the story of observing a neighboring farmer as he erected one of those three-crosses installations on a rural
hillside in Georgia. Each day as she drove to work, she saw that he was working very hard to install each of the three enormous poles, and she wondered why he didn’t stop at one. Yes, the Biblical story mentions three crosses, but wouldn’t we get the message if just one cross was erected on the hillside? Maybe not.
It occurred to her that “One cross = a crucifixion. Three crosses = a church.”
Tomorrow morning, thousands of preachers will offer sermons and liturgy that have the power to heal, inspire, convict, and uplift hundreds of thousands of hearers. Please, God, let those preachers speak to the horrors of this past week.
- It was a week when people in Gaza shared tips on tear gas avoidance with people in Ferguson, MO on Twitter after the shooting death of an unarmed teenager.
- It was a week when a beloved actor and comedian took his own life and the national conversation about mental illness reminded us that many of us are still ignorant about depression.
- It was a week when Iraqi minorities were starved by their own neighbors and threatened with death if they don’t convert.
- Two UN Peacekeepers were killed by a suicide bomber in Mali.
- Ebola is killing our brothers and sisters in Liberia.
- Boko Haram is still kidnapping children in Nigeria.
- And in my own part of the world, a 16 year old girl was shot and killed today within blocks one of our Presbyterian churches. I could go on and on and on . . .
We are a community with countless crosses to bear. But we are a church when our crosses connect with each other. We become stronger when we fight injustice together, when we have relationships with people who – like us – carry heavy burdens.
Let’s be honest in worship this weekend: One cross is a crucifixion. When more than one cross connects together, we are The Church. And The Church’s job is to point to resurrection even after cruel death. We have a precious opportunity this week to – by God’s grace – transform people.
Image is a photo from the Presbytery of Chicago‘s Social Justice Networking Event held this morning. Our prayers were written on linoleum tiles and connected together. (Thank you AW.)