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October Newsletter

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THE HERALD

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Rev. Stephen Snodgrass

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What does the cross mean to you?

In our beloved country, the symbol of the Christian faith, the cross, is all around us. You will see it stitched on the front of a Bible cover. You will see it molded into gold and hung around the neck of individuals from all walks of life. It has sickened me to sometimes see it tattooed and even worn by a group of people whose lives despise its significance and it’s Savior. This symbol is to remind you of the penalty that was paid for your redemption by the blood of the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ.  There is little wonder the cross is no longer treasured as a gift of love and as the symbol of Christ victory.

Just a few weeks ago, I went on a missions trip to India. In this dark land, you will see many symbols of many religions. While traveling between preaching appointments, we entered a little alley and saw that someone had crudely painted a white cross on the outside of their dwelling. It was their declaration, “I am a follower of the Cross of Jesus Christ!” 
In his letter to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul wrote, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”(Galatians 6:14) Paul had been telling the church that their justification with God was much more than the keeping of the law and the ideals of men, but that in the dispensation of the Gospel, it was faith in Jesus and the merits of His grace. John Wesley interprets it this way, “(God forbid that I) should boast of anything I have, am or do, or rely on anything for my acceptance with God, but what Christ hath done and suffered for me. By means of which the world is crucified to me - All the things and persons in it are to me as nothing. And I unto the world - I am dead to all worldly pursuits, cares, desires, and enjoyments.” Here Paul is saying that he has perfect spiritual freedom from the world and its warped belief system and entanglements.
To the Christian, the cross is an emblem of hope. It is a reminder of the grace of a merciful God. To the sinner it is a reminder of the love of a Heavenly Father.
In 1707, Isaac Watts was inspired to write a song while preparing for a communion service. He originally titled it, “Crucifixion to the World by the Cross of Christ.” Theologian Matthew Arnold called this the greatest hymn in the English language. Later, we would find it in our hymnals titled, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” The lyrics of the song point us to a view of the dying Savior in a vivid way and remind us of divine love.
When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, save in the death of Christ, my God; all the vain things that charm me most – I sacrifice them to His blood.
See, from His head, His hands, His feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down; did e’er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine that were a present far too small: Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.

What does the Cross mean to you today, my friend?

India 2012 067 A Christian's home.JPG

A picture from India, a house in an alley declaring, “I am a follower of the cross of Jesus Christ.” This a bold witness in a Hindu country.

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