1986 Sept 14 – Triumph of the Cross (Bulletin Letters)
September 12, 1986
THE TRIUMPH OF THE CROSS: This week we celebrate the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. I wonder if we know how outrageous the cross really is? St. Paul knew well the impact of the cross when he wrote, “The message of the cross is a complete absurdity…Jews demand ‘signs’ and the Greeks look for ‘wisdom’ but we preach the Christ crucified—a stumbling block to the Jews and an absurdity to Gentiles.” (1 Cor. 1/18,22-23)
We are so accustomed to the cross as a Christian symbol, that we rarely stop to see the original meaning. Crucifixion was a form of capital punishment reserved for the most despi-cable of outlaws, for people accused of treason and being threats to the Roman sense of Law and Order. Often the poorest of the poor and slaves were the victims of this harsh punishment. It took several days for a person to die from crucifixion. Crosses routinely lined the public highways as a sign to all that the Roman authority was to be obeyed. There were times during social unrest when crosses lined the highways and by-ways for miles and miles.
It’s not surprsing then, that the Jews and. the Greeks were less than impressed with the crucified Christ. The Jews wanted signs; spectacular miracles that showed God ‘s divine intervention in championing their cause for nat1onal restoration and the Greeks wanted wisdom; human knowledge to explain and solve the problems facing the human race.
In many ways the cross is as much a “stumbling block and an absurdity,” today as it was in St. Paul’s time. We have our own modern sign seekers and believers in human science and technology. And the crucified Christ is no better received today.
SIX MONTH SUSPENDED SENTENCES/ A YEAR PROBATION: All who went before Judge Peck Tuesday on charges of violating Ban & Bar letters from SAC, received six month suspended sentences and one year probation. A violation of probation could mean six month jail terms, plus whatever new charges that might be brought. “We call this the ‘multiple factor.’ Now, it any of those on probation choose to cross the line at SAC, they risk a year in jail. Still, we are all grateful for their freedom. For many, just sitting in the courtroom was a taste of what it must have been like for Jesus before Pilate. The defendants speaking of faith and love from the truth in their hearts, while the court unmoved and unimpressed passed judgment and sentence.