CROSS OF CHRIST
The government of Polish Prime Minister Jaruzelski had ordered crucifixes removed from
classroom walls, just as they had been banned in factories, hospitals, and other public
institutions. Catholic bishops attacked the ban that had stirred waves of anger and
resentment all across Poland. Ultimately the government relented, insisting that the law
remain on the books, but agreeing not to press for removal of the crucifixes, particularly
in the schoolrooms.
But one zealous Communist school administrator in Garwolin decided that the law was the
law. So one evening he had seven large crucifixes removed from lecture halls where they
had hung since the school's founding in the twenties. Days later, a group of parents
entered the school and hung more crosses. The administrator promptly had these taken down
The next day two-thirds of the school's six hundred students staged a sit-in. When
heavily armed riot police arrived, the students were forced into the streets. Then they
marched, crucifixes held high, to a nearby church where they were joined by twenty-five
hundred other students from nearby schools for a morning of prayer in support of the
protest. Soldiers surrounded the church. But the pictures from inside of students holding
crosses high above their heads flashed around the world. So did the words of the priest
who delivered the message to the weeping congregation that morning. "There is no
Poland without a cross."
Chuck Colson, Kingdoms in Conflict, pp. 202-3.
In Planet In Rebellion, George Vandeman wrote: "It was May 21, 1946. The
place - Los Alamos. A young and daring scientist was carrying out a necessary experiment
in preparation for the atomic test to be conducted in the waters of the South Pacific
atoll at Bikini. "He had successfully performed such an experiment many times before.
In his effort to determine the amount of U-235 necessary for a chain reaction--scientists
call it the critical mass--he would push two hemispheres of uranium together. Then, just
as the mass became critical, he would push them apart with his screwdriver, thus instantly
stopping the chain reaction. But that day, just as the material became critical, the
screwdriver slipped! The hemispheres of uranium came too close together. Instantly the
room was filled with a dazzling bluish haze. Young Louis Slotin, instead of ducking and
thereby possibly saving himself, tore the two hemispheres apart with his hands and thus
interrupted the chain reaction. By this instant, self-forgetful daring, he saved the lives
of the seven other persons in the room. . . as he waited. . for the car that was to take
him to the hospital, he said quietly to his companion, 'You'll come through all right. But
I haven't the faintest chance myself' It was only too true. Nine days later he died in
George Vandeman, Planet in Rebellion.
If you were to look at Rembrandt's painting of The Three Crosses, your attention would
be drawn first to the center cross on which Jesus died. Then as you would look at the
crowd gathered around the foot of that cross, you'd be impressed by the various facial
expressions and actions of the people involved in the awful crime of crucifying the Son of
God. Finally, your eyes would drift to the edge of the painting and catch sight of another
figure, almost hidden in the shadows. Art critics say this is a representation of
Rembrandt himself, for he recognized that by his sins he helped nail Jesus to the cross.
Short Statements on the Cross
Jesus was crucified, not in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two
George F. MacLeod.
The figure of the Crucified invalidates all thought which takes success for its
The cross cannot be defeated, for it is defeat.
Gilbert K. Chesterton.
There are no crown-wearers in heaven who were not cross- bearers here below.
We need men of the cross, with the message of the cross, bearing the marks of the
Christ's cross is such a burden as sails are to a ship or wings to a bird.
He came to pay a debt He didn't owe because we owed a debt we couldn't pay.
The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new
cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages
All heaven is interested in the cross of Christ, all hell is terribly afraid of it,
while men are the only beings who more or less ignore its meaning.
The cross: God's way of uniting suffering with love.
In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopp'd my wild career:
I saw One hanging on a Tree
In agonies and blood,
Who fix'd His languid eyes on me.
As near His Cross I stood.
Sure never till my latest breath,
Can I forget that look:
It seem'd to charge me with His death,
Though not a word He spoke:
My conscience felt and own'd the guilt,
And plunged me in despair:
I saw my sins His Blood had spilt,
And help'd to nail Him there.
Alas! I knew not what I did!
But now my tears are vain:
Where shall my trembling soul be hid?
For I the Lord have slain!
A second look He gave, which said,
"I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid;
I die that thou may'st live."
Thus, while His death my sin displays
In all its blackest hue,
Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon too.
With pleasing grief, and mournful joy,
My spirit now if fill'd,
That I should such a life destroy,
Yet live by Him I kill'd!
John Newton, 1725-1807.