Thursday, July 30, 2009

Catholics and Crucifixes

Crucifixes are crosses which have the corpus (body) of Jesus on them to represent the historical crucifixion of Our Lord. The cross alone, with no body, has been a symbol of Christianity since antiquity. The very instrument of capital punishment and horrible torture by the pagan Roman Empire became a symbol of the loving and forgiving crucified Savior.

Catholics are not the only Christians to use the crucifix in church for public worship or in their homes. Eastern Orthodox, Anglican (Episcopalian) and Lutheran Christians also use the crucifix, while most Reformed Protestant Christians will only have a cross and never with a corpus.

The main goal of the crucifix is not to shock or frighten believers, but to remind them of the ultimate price paid for their salvation. Redemption was expensive. Jesus sacrificed His very life and He endured a painful and horrible death just so we could go to heaven. The crucifix brings home the reality that sin caused us to be lost and ony the death of the Savior could save us. Celebrating Christian worship on Sunday (rather than on the Sabbath, Saturday) and calling it the day of the Lord is how Christians honor the Resurrection.

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