I’ve never been one to wear a cross. I have a handful of them in my dresser that have been gifts to me on various occasions. Partly, it is because I’m not much of a jewelry person. A greater part of it is what that cross means and how it has been usurped by Christians of another persuasion. Even though the Resurrection redefines the torturous purpose of the cross, it just seems rather odd to see diamond adorned crosses around someone’s neck. And I’m not talking about those that simply wear it as jewelry but those that wear it as an act of faith.
N.T. Wright’s book, Surprised by Hope, and Saved from Sacrifice by Mark Heim speak to the symbolism of the cross and the common understanding of substitionary atonement that is so prevalent. I can’t wrap my head around the notion that the God of all Creation would intentionally send Christ into the world to redeem us through violence. The violence inflicted was the act of human beings. It was the act of sinful people. It was motivated by fear and politics. God is not a puppetmaster playing games with us.
In case you are wondering, I bought a Jerusalem cross on my last day in the Old City. I wear it as a reminder of my own humaness – my own sinfulness – my own need for God’s redeeming grace.