Life Lessons from the Road (A to Z) Denmark: "Blinded to the Cross"
Weeks ago I started with the letter A and will go to Z focusing on a nation or island group, and what I learned in that place. If you are looking for perfection then just read the Words of Jesus in the New Testament of the Bible. I'm only a pilgrim that has and is still on a journey with Jesus. He is constantly working on me like a potter does the clay. Welcome to the potter's house!
‘Blinded to the Cross’
I was carrying the cross with my son Joshua in Denmark. I had spoken to a large youth gathering called the “Go” conference in Randers with Youth With A Mission. A year before I had spoken on that one word at a stadium gathering in LA before the start of the Olympic games there. A number of the youth at the meeting wanted to walk with the cross to the capital Copenhagen. We had our Landover carrying the baggage and some went ahead to set up our tents in a campground up while the remainder of us were walking with the cross. They paid for our camping for the night and set up the tents.
Then about a dozen of us arrived with the 12 foot cross and walked into the campground. Now know this the Danish flag is a white cross on a red background. It is seen everywhere around the country just like the American flag with the stars and stripes or the British Union Jack. There was a huge Danish Cross flag on a pole in front of the office. However when the owner saw us carrying a cross he became furious and ran out screaming at us and ordering us out of the campground because of the cross. I tried to speak with him but he was raging. As we were taking down our tents I tried again. "Sir, is your problem with us or the cross?" "It's that cross, I want it out of here!" Then I said, "Sir look up there, I see you have a huge flag cross almost as big as the one we are carrying." He looked up in amazement. There was the huge cross flag waving right in front of him on his very own campground.
I started to share with him about the meaning of the cross. He was shaken, and almost in shock, but muttered that we had to leave anyway and walked away profoundly impacted and subdued.
The cross had become so common to him that it had lost it's meaning or taken on another meaning. He was proud of his flag with the cross but had somehow detached it from the crucified Jesus and the Holy Blood of Jesus shed for the sins of the world.
We see crosses by the dozen in most western countries and typical Catholic nations. Crosses on churches, on hymn books, Bibles, and on clergy garments. Think of the crosses on rock stars and tattooed on both men and women almost anywhere you look. People ware crosses around their neck, as ear rings, nose rings, on their tee shirts and jeans. You see the cross made of gold and with diamonds adoring it.
Enough said on how common the cross is. Now let's move on to the question of what the cross means. For many they kneel at the cross and weep or make the sign of the cross when they pray.
I remember in Papua New Guinea a remote tribe walked for days and waited on the roadside for the cross and to hear the message. Through the interpreter they heard the message of the cross and received Jesus with deep emotion. In another village a group of men arrived and as I was preaching they felt the cross from top to bottom. The declared that now they had seen and felt the cross and they believed. Oh the joy mixed with tears. In the Darien jungle in one village an old lady who missionaries had tried to get her to understand about the cross said to them ‘now I understand that God loves us, He sent the cross!’ Around the world I have seen multitudes of people changed because they came to understand that the cross was the plan of God to save us as God the Word became Flesh and lived a sinless life to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins.
When Jesus called me to make a cross and hang it on the wall at our Jesus coffee house called His Place on Sunset Strip in Hollywood, Calif. I found it hard to do. I had understood what happened at the cross and our sins that Jesus died for but the symbol had never been important for me. I had never worn a cross or owned one but now I was to build one. I wanted a cross big enough to crucify a man on, rugged and realistic. I never dreamed I would ever carry it. Then came the call to carry it. God was beginning to teach me the power of symbols from the scripture but that is a lesson for another day.
Now after forty two years with the cross I can honestly say I have never got accustomed to it. The cross is my friend. I am always aware of the horror and suffering of Jesus on the cross and the glory of it in providing redemption for whosoever shall believe and call upon His Holy Name. I never lift the cross to place it on my shoulder without the awesome responsibility I have to seek to carry it well and for the glory of Jesus and as a witness of His love and salvation to others. I know I am not worthy to carry the cross but neither was Simon who helped Jesus on the way to Calvary. We are all to be cross carriers as Jesus said ‘Whosoever will come after me must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’ The cross was the symbol and tool of execution, suffering and death. It is now not only that but the symbol of love, life, salvation, healing and joy. So we carry it with at least two emotions sadness and joy!
What does your national flag mean to you? What does it represent?
What does the cross mean to you? What does it represent? Have you shared the message of the cross with others? When? Have you invited others to receive the crucified, resurrected, ascended, living Savior Jesus Christ? Carry your cross well!
Never get accustomed to the cross so that it's meaning is lost and it's message not shared. Remember we are to carry the cross not for compliments but as a witness.
In the movie “The Cross” I seek to share the real meaning of the cross and the love of Jesus to all people. This movie will take you on a modern journey with the cross on foot around the world. I share how it has shaped and changed my life and shows many reactions to the cross in our world today.
Get it, view it, share it, show it! "The Cross" on DVD now around the world.
Please pray for us as we walk on with the cross. We are on another cross walk as I write this.
Praying for all of you who read this and peace be with you,
For the story of the crosswalk and photos in Bangladesh please go to "Crosswalk Stories and Photos" Top Left
Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt,