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The Double Cross


The visual theme for tomorrow’s sermon (Sunday, October 5th) is the double cross, or Slovak cross. Most of the pictures are of the cross on Dumbier, the highest peak in the Low Tatras or Kirvan, the highest peak in the High Tatras.

There is no authoritative explanation for this two-barred cross, but it goes back in Slovak and Hungarian history to before 1000 A.D. Wikipedia says “One interpretation is that the first horizontal line symbolized the secular power and the other horizontal line the ecclesiastic power of Byzantine emperors. Another that the first cross represents the death and the second cross the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

But as I’ve been studying Ezekiel this week, and preparing for communion, another explanation has occurred to me. In the Gospels Jesus tells us that we need to deny ourselves and take up his cross and follow him. This means following him in his example of suffering and even death as a witness to the world. In Galatians 6:14 Paul says “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

I wonder if the two crosses in the Slovak double cross stand for the cross of Jesus on which he suffered, and my smaller cross, by which I choose to suffer hardship and even trial or persecution as so many of our brothers are today, or even death as I align myself with him in his suffering.