I stopped seeing crosses years ago. Crosses are everywhere in my world: on the walls of the sanctuaries, entry-ways, steeples, paintings, jewelry, license-plate covers, Bible covers, etc. You name the place, I've seen crosses there, as witnesses and reminders, as identifiers and sources of comfort. We have hymns, chorusses and songs about crosses.
But three years ago a missionary in France working with displaced African Muslims told me how crosses just don't work in the Muslim community. They speak of the Crusades and conquering, of warfare and tension, not reconciliation. He told me how in current Muslim/Christian conflicts, when "christians" win a battle and burn a town, they plant a cross in the ashes. It happened in Serbia and Kosovo. So he uses the fish and sun, wheat and rock. There are so many great images upon which to view our faith.
Then I began seeing and looking for the resurrection, empty tomb images. Where are they? Where are the images, not of death, but of new life and hope. I know the protestant argument that we don't have a crucifix with Christ still hanging in death, but an empty cross after the resurrection. But it is still a portion of our atonement and hope.
This all comes to mind today in our worship gathering at the Midwinter. The music is exceptional and full of life and energy, hope and healing. But the backdrops to so many of the lyrics are crosses, crosses everywhere. Are there other good graphics to use among the crosses? Is that heretical? Do we need more imagery behind our lyrics, especially imagery that is appropriate to the words being sung?
Oh, I still love the cross and the story of Jesus death for me. There can be no holy week without the cross of Good Friday...but that's not where the story ends.