Friday, May 28, 2010

Where is the cross?

On Pentecost Sunday in May, three Amazing Grace eighth graders affirmed their faith in the rite of Confirmation. The Saturday before, I attended breakfast with their families. It was a time of togetherness and conversation as we reflected on our time together. When my waffles, eggs, and bacon came, I looked at my meal, and apologized, saying, “I’m sorry. I can’t help myself. I need to take a picture of this!”

Yes, I took a picture of breakfast. I was struck by the shape my bacon made—a cross. Even something that the Old Testament describes as unclean can remind me of God. I was also reminded of the television advertisements that our denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, has produced. The ads show everyday objects, like pencils or breadsticks making a cross shape, using the tagline God’s Work. Our Hands. Some of these ads have recently aired locally on KSAT 12.

At Amazing Grace, we have made our own television ads that will piggyback off what the synod is doing. They will appear on KSAT some time in June. Several San Antonio area congregations have ads. In ours, I briefly talk about who Lutherans are. I say that we celebrate God’s presence with all our hurting world.

This is where I find the Lutheran emphasis on the cross helpful. Jesus meets us in our human suffering. As Lutheran Christians, we don’t have good answers about why bad stuff happens, but we affirm that God is right there suffering with us.

As Lutherans, we also believe that God is present with us. I was reminded of God’s presence when I saw bacon at a restaurant. How are you reminded of God in your everyday life? Maybe you see cross-shaped tiles on your bathroom floor. Maybe the spoons in your silverware drawer get in the shape of a cross.

But we don’t actually have to have cross-shaped things to remember the cross. Maybe we can be cross-shaped ourselves. That doesn’t mean we have to do strange contortionist gymnastics. It means we live as Jesus—loving people, welcoming people, giving of ourselves.

Look around you carefully. You might just see Jesus.

(Originally published in the June 2010 newsletter of Amazing Grace Lutheran Church).

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