From the Cross

I don’t do this very often, but I want to recommend a book to you.  It’s for preachers and lay people alike, but will take real commitment if you’re going to really take from it what the author intends.  Stephen Seamands’ book, “Give Them Christ” takes people to core of the Christian Message and demands that we go deep.  He hits on the importance of the Cross, above all else, and attempts to help each of us re-discover the power of Christ and the Cross.  In chapter 3, he shares this powerful word, using the painting “Christ of St. John of the Cross” (and I hope it can be meaningful for you):

Image

Unlike more familiar presentations of the crucifixion where the cross is viewed from ground level, in Dali’s painting the cross is viewed from above, as if one were viewing it from heaven, from God’s perspective. The cross in the picture is massive; it looms over the whole world beneath. The figure on the cross is young and strong. He seems to be holding back the darkness surrounding him. In the foreground, the earth, the sky and the sea are illumined by the light streaming forth from the cross. The whole world is viewed from the cross, and how different it looks from that perspective! Preachers, too, should help their hearers view everything from the vantage point of the cross. For the cross truly is at the very heart of everything distinctively Christian. That’s why it is the primary identifying sign, the chief visual symbol of the Christian faith. No wonder that Christian art, architecture, literature and hymns have been so dominated by it. Alister McGrath says it well: “The cross of Christ is the point of reference for Christian faith; Christian faith is based upon it, and judged by it…. Christian theology, Christian worship, and Christian ethics are essentially nothing other than an attempt to explore and develop the meaning and implications of the crucified Christ in every area of life.”2

Stephen Seamands. Give Them Christ: Preaching His Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension and Return (Kindle Locations 537-545). Kindle Edition.

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