The Cross and Its Sign
THE CROSS AND ITS SIGN
The cross is the central symbol for Christians, not only as the instrument of the world's salvation by the crucified Christ, but also as the constant witness to the fact that men cannot be Christians unless they live with the cross as the very content of their lives in this world. "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Mark 8:34).
For these and more reasons Christians place upon themselves the sign of the cross. The Orthodox believers place their two fingers and thumb together to form a sign of the Triune God and cross themselves from the head (signifying the beginning of everything, saying: "In the name of the Father"), then to the stomach (signifying the divine incarnation of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ who came to the undefiled virginal womb of Saint Mary, took flesh from her and became man), and from the left shoulder to the right shoulder (signifying that the Lord transferred us from evil to goodness). This unique symbol shows that the cross is the inspiration, power and indeed the very content of our lives as Christians; and that man's mind, heart, strength and will must be given to the love of God and man.
Although that, "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God" (I Corinthians 1:18).
The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is our glory (Galatians 6:14) for the following reasons:
1. I am in full control over myself "the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (Galatians 6:14). "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin" (Romans 6:6).
2. Jesus taught me to obey to the utmost, "He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Phillipians 2:8).
3. Jesus reconciled me with God, "And having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself" (Colossians 1:20).
4. Jesus taught me to be patient and endure sufferings, "who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame" (Hebrews 12:2)