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Cross of Stability?

Cross of Stability?

“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 v18)

One of the highlights of my week is getting together with a bunch of other crazy people at 9am on Saturday morning in order to attend ‘MetaPwr’ – a hit-intensity fitness class led by Spencer from Faith Within Fitness. This class requires us to subject ourselves to a tough 20 minute workout, designed to build core muscles and improve overall fitness. In theory, it is the perfect way to start the weekend, especially if followed by coffee in Eden Coffee Shop!

A recent class was held in the main hall at St. Peter’s Baptist Church, a venue which always increases the workout intensity as the room is always too hot (for me!). However, one of my fellow victims remarked that he liked the venue, as looking at the wooden cross in the hall helped him to ‘remain stable’ during the exercises.

The cross – a source of stability? That was too interesting a thought to ignore!

A quick internet search confirms that considering the cross of Christ as a source of stability is not a new concept. For example, the Rev. Tomas Bissland, Rector of Hartley Maudytt and Chaplin to Lord Bexley in the 1830s, wrote a book claiming that the faithful preaching of ‘the cross’ was not only the ‘effectual means for conversion of the sinner’ but also the source of ‘stability of the church’. Whether the sinners he had in mind where those engaged in a such a pedestrian lifestyle that a Saturday morning high-intensity workout should have been the prescribed penance I do not know! However, just as with my workout friend, it is clear that the Rev. Bissland saw stability within the story of the cross.

All that considered, as I have thought again about the Easter story again, it has struck me how the cross of Christ is something which actually causes instability within what may otherwise be considered the ‘normal’ way of the world. As a result of Jesus’ sacrifice everything is turned upside down. Weakness is shown to be a source strength. Defeat becomes victory over death. Suffering leads to salvation. I think St. Paul picked up on this too, when he wrote to the Corinthians:

“Some demand signs and others look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to some and foolishness to others, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Cor 1 v22-24)

The cross disrupts those seeking stability by their own means, be that through religion or philosophical discussion and the pursuit of wisdom.

So, where does this leave me? When I look at the cross and consider all that Christ has done, I find myself questioning where my hope is placed and what I hold on to in order to make sense of everything. I find I am all too easily sucked in to believing all the promises of security offered by our current culture. The cross challenges me to test again what is the source and foundation of what I rely upon for stability.

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