Cross My Heart

The playground has been the place where many of us learned the rules. What rules? You know, "The Rules." The unwritten code that determines rank and status and survival in "kid-dom." For instance, "I dare you," is always trumped by "I Ďdouble-dogí dare you." Calling "shotgun" determines the seating arrangement in the car. Perhaps the most solemn of all is the oath you swore when you wanted to underscore the veracity of your statement or the gravity of the situation, "Cross my heart and hope to die."

The cross over the heart--thatíll preach!

Some churches, most notably the Catholic Church, have a tradition called the "sign of the cross." The practice goes back to the period of the early church fathers. The person literally makes a cross sign with their finger, over their heart. The practice evolved to sometimes making the cross over the forehead.

In each instance it was a way to physically depict the person asking the Lord to "cover" and bless the heart, by means of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. People made the sign of the cross before they acted on anything. For instance, before they blessed the food at the dinner table, they would make the sign before they prayed.

I am not advocating for us doing that today. I see, however, a great imagery in understanding that the cross needs to touch every aspect of our lives. The remainder of that childish oath, "cross my heart and hope to die" means something like, "I break this oath under pain of death." Now, I never saw a six year old go on to his reward because he broke this oath, but I have seen many believers over the years fail to reach their full potential as heirs of God because they didnít "appropriate" the benefit of the Lordís covenant with us, namely Jesusí actual death for our failure to keep our promises to God.

This morning I want to talk about what it means to have the cross touch our hearts and our minds. Jesus clearly told the disciples that their lives would be shaped by picking up their own crosses daily and following after Him. I want to know what this means and I will do my best to clearly and forthrightly preach the truth as it is found in the Word. Cross my heart and hope--to live in a manner that pleases Him.

Pastor Jim
June 28, 2009

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