What does the old rugged cross mean?

Published 9:06 am Sunday, August 20, 2023

Hi, all. Just a thought to help start your weekend.

“On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross…”

Were you even able to read those words without hearing them sung in your head? What does that old rugged cross mean to you? What does it symbolize for you?

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Even the “not so religious” among us can be caught wearing a cross around their necks, on their ears or clothing, or perhaps tattooed on their bodies. I dare say that many of those same folks have given no real thought to the cross of Jesus.

The church that I’m blessed to pastor has recently begun a “cross wall” on a decades-long empty space in the building’s upstairs hallway. In this picture are crosses made from different materials. A couple of them are clay or ceramic. Several are made of various woods. One has barbed wire. One is iron. One is painted on canvas. One is crocheted and framed in a shadow box. Each cross has been provided by a family or individual. Several included their names or names of loved ones on the back to indicate their gift in memory of a precious soul.

The simple light-colored wooden cross hanging near the bottom center looks like it’s polka-dotted. Those are actually fingerprints. At this summer’s Vacation Bible School, we each selected (or mixed up) a different paint color, put our thumb or finger into that paint, and then stuck it to the cross. Every one of those fingerprints represents the individual to whom it belongs. No two are alike. We each took part. We each made our mark on the cross.

I can’t help but wonder if the cross of Jesus has made its mark upon us. When you see a cross, do you simply recognize it as a pretty decorative item, one that, for this week only, has been half-priced at the local Christian-owned hobby/decoration store?

That old rugged cross — “the emblem of suffering and shame” — on which Jesus shed His blood for us was marked with your name long before you were ever born. He died for YOU. He shed His blood for YOU. His cross was meant for YOU. As you see or wear those crosses in the days ahead, do so knowing what it means. Know what it means to those who need to know the Lord. And know what it means to YOU!

Just a thought. ’Til later.

Brad Campbell can be reached at mastah.pastah@yahoo.com.