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
Advertisers will tell you a company's logo is an important part of its sales campaign.
The Nike "swoosh," the Coca-Cola script, Ford's blue oval, the Apple's Apple, and the three-pointed star of Mercedes-Benz are among the most famous logos out there. Indeed, you would be hard-pressed to find somebody who doesn't know most, if not all, of these symbols.
That being said, I would like to take this opportunity to suggest there is another symbol which surpasses those we've mentioned: the Christian cross. The Savior's lifelong work of saving humanity is summed up by the simple symbol of two lines which transverse each other. Both believers and unbelievers know the cross symbolizes the life, death and resurrection of God's perfect Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
To the skeptic the cross is a joke that appeals to simple-minded believers, who can't face life on their own. To the believer it is representative of God's grace and love for lost humankind. Depending on to whom you talk, the cross is hope and happiness or foolishness and folly.
Oh, there is one more thing the cross is: it is frightening.
Yes, that's right. It is frightening. As proof I share the fact that, in some provinces, Chinese officials have decreed congregations can no longer put a cross on top of their churches. In a 36-page document, the government says small crosses must be on the front of all churches.
But there's more. There is no grandfathering allowed for existing structures.
The government claims it has the right to remove any existing crosses which may cap a Christian church building.
And in case you are wondering why the Chinese government is going to such lengths in regard to this simple Christian symbol, the experts are in agreement: these laws represent a "tightening noose around religious freedom in China." Chinese leaders are deeply concerned about the considerable growth of the Christian faith. They want to do all they can to show they -- not the Savior -- are in control.
It is an effort that is doomed to failure.
Throughout history governments have found the Savior can give their people peace which they cannot. Only the Savior can forgive sins and only He can guarantee eternal life for those who are brought to faith.
And since no government and no commercial product can do what Jesus Christ can do, the cross is likely to remain well-known. As St. Paul said, "to us who are being saved it is the power of God."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may we "Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim, till all the world adore his sacred Name. ... This is the sign which Satan's legions fear, and angels veil their faces to revere. ... Let every race and every language tell, of Him who saves our souls from death and hell. From farthest regions let their homage bring, and on His Cross adore their Savior King." This we pray in Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries