For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18
Hundreds of Christians were present to defend the cross at the big church in Wenzhou, China.
Even so, those Christians caused no confrontation and respectfully stepped aside when hundreds of police came and, with a crane, removed the ten-foot-high cross from the top of the building's steeple.
Authorities told the Christians the cross was violating building height limits and gave it back to the distraught parishioners. More than 130 Protestant churches in the same region have also been notified their crosses are causing problems and will be removed.
When asked the reason these religious symbols are being taken down, officials reply they are enforcing building codes. When pressed for the specific building code which is being violated, they have often hemmed and hawed and then changed the subject.
Many Christians in China believe the removal of crosses has been the government's knee-jerk reaction to the phenomenal growth, which has been seen in the Christian church. No matter what explanation you accept, the fact is, the cross of Christ still comforts some and frightens others.
In recent months, I have received many reports which tell of how, in North America, crosses are being removed from churches. It's true; the cross -- which has always been the symbol of Jesus' sacrifice, which redeemed sinners from condemnation and rescued them from hell -- is being eradicated from the exteriors and altars of Christian buildings.
Of course, there is a difference between what is happening in China and what is occurring in North America.
In China, the cross is being removed because a godless government finds it offensive, while, in North America, churches are taking down their crosses because they think sinners might be offended by a religion which says, "Only through the sacrifice of the Savior can you be redeemed."
So, my friends, that's the state of things. The devil is coming up with all kinds of reasons to take down the symbol of the Savior's sacrifice, and Christians are finding only one reason for keeping the cross in place.
We lift high the cross because, like St. Paul, we know the cross is the power of God that brings forgiveness and salvation for all who believe.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks for the cross. Although death on the cross was a despised and painful way to die, for me the Savior's cross has provided salvation, forgiveness and the promise of eternal life with You in heaven. May the things I do and say always lift high that cross. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries