One of the texts I've been using for my youth ministry class is Andrew Root's "Taking the Cross to Youth Ministry", and he says some challenging things about how we treat the cross as a logo:
"Youth Ministry is littered with images of the cross - on T-shirts, book bags, bracelets, and boxer shorts. The symbol of the cross is everywhere, and it has lost its shock value."I agree. Somehow our consumptive default cheapens the "very revelation of God's nature" into a logo we brandish, a product we consume, a brand we identify with ... but the cross was something very different to the first-century Jesus-follower:
"They knew the cross as an instrument of violence, torture, and execution. ... The cross was a very real and graphic reminder that God takes on the foolishness of suffering and death, that God acts by being weak."What would it look like to see a generation re-capture this? Where following Jesus shifts us from wearing a cross, or walking through the doors of a building that displays a cross ... to seeing the cross as:
"... the doorway into a new reality - an altogether new way of seeing self, world, and God - for the cross is the fulness of God's action."As I reflect on this, my preparation for our new week-long experience in July makes me hope for something...
Yes, I hope that people are able to explore the Bible in a way they've never known before.
Yes, I certainly hope for transformation in communities that can only come from the story and activity of God.
But I also hope for a generation who will recapture God's heart to see His "cross activity" multiplied with unstoppable momentum, where:
- we discover that our imperfections are the means through which His perfect love can be made known; and
- we decide that our suffering can be the conduit through which His victory is revealed; and,
- we determine that our weaknesses will be the most powerful mechanism for His strength to be displayed.