A few years ago the College of William and Mary received some unwanted media attention for their decision to remove a two foot brass cross from its focal point in campus’s historic Wren Chapel. The chapel has been in use since 1732. In that day nearly the entire student population would have identified itself as Christian. Twice daily chapel attendance was mandatory for all students.
Yet, in the intervening years much has changed. The chapels are no longer mandatory and the student body is no longer all Christian. In fact, many other faiths are present on campus and often use the chapel. Several have found the presence of the Christian cross to be offensive to their own religious practices. So the administration removed the cross from its permanent location. (The cross could be displayed by request for special events).
This decision resulted in outrage both on campus and off campus. At least one donor had withdrawn a pledge of a multi-million dollar donation.
In response a compromise was offered. The cross wouldl be on permanent display once again in the chapel. But it appears the solution is worse than the original problem. The cross be displayed in a glass case with a label describing its historic significance, along with other items used for worship and devotion.
But the cross of Jesus can not be stored in some safe container. It has no peers and it would be better to display no cross than to introduce a cross of convenience designed for harmless reflection.
Now, before we get too outraged by this university’s decision, we must give consideration to what place the cross has in our own lives. Does it come and go as needed? Is it kept in isolation so as not to contaminate the rest of our lives? Does it have to share space with “other objects of devotion”?
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel-not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Cor 1:17-18 NIV
May the cross be central in my life this week.