Friday, July 27, 2007

The Cross Around My Neck

Here’s a photo of the cross I wear which I received at my Chrismation – a gift from my sponsor. All Orthodox Christians are given a cross on the day they are received into the Church. Some wear their cross all the time, and some do not. Some wear their cross outside their clothes, some inside.

I wear my cross inside my clothes not because I am ashamed of it - I’m not. I treasure it. But one reason I wear it hidden from view is to protect it’s image from the likes of mine. That is to say that if I wear it for all to see, like some sort of a bumper sticker, it says to the world, “This is what an Orthodox Christian looks like. This is how a Christian acts and speaks.” All too often I don’t act or speak in a Christ-like way. Often I’m not a very good spokeswoman (in words or actions) for Christianity… so perhaps it's best to keep my cross hidden so that my own image does not tarnish it’s image to the rest of the world.

Lord, have mercy.

5 comments:

Dixie said...

What a beautiful cross!

I just found your blog by linking from your comment on Pastor Hall's page. I'm adding you to my blog reader and look forward to following your thoughts.

Now...I am curious though...since you were once Lutheran and now you are Orthodox (a path we share) how did you get from there to here?

-C said...

Thanks, Dixie! I have been a lurker on your blog for a long time, so I'm honored for your visit.

I know we share the same path to Orthodoxy. I read many blogs, but for this reason, yours is one I have read with special interest.

I have hesitated to say alot about my journey as there are many Lutherans I love who might not understand (though I know there are some who do understand) and who might somehow be hurt or offended. I'm not a great writer.

But since you have asked, I may reconsider. My journey was not uncomplicated (whose journey is?). But give me just a little time and I'll see what I can come up with.

-C

Ryan said...

Do you have to receive or wear a cross. I am not against other people wearing them. I like to see people wearing whatever jewelery they like, but I don't wear any and would feel utterly crazy if I had to wear a cross around the neck, not because of the cross, but because it was a necklace, always on my neck, touching my skin and something I have to take care of and worry about breaking or falling off or being ripped apart. I get up in the morning and run out the door. I don't want to have to think about putting a cross on. I love Orthodoxy and I never thought this would be so important. I don't want to wear a necklace or have anyone waste money buying a necklace for me I would never wear. What do you think?

-C said...

Thanks for stopping by, Ryan, and addressing an old post that I'd all but forgotten about. I'll comment on a few questions you raised and points you make:

"Do you have to receive or wear a cross?"

Have to? I'm not sure if you have to receive a cross - I just know that all I have seen enter the Orthodox church by Baptism or Chrismation have received one - myself included. I have worn and treasured it since the day of my Christmation (though I am not a jewelery-wearer, either).

"Do I have to wear it?"

Nobody ever told me that I have to, but I choose to. I am honored to wear it. Many Orthodox Christians I know and love do not wear a cross.

"I am not against other people wearing them. I like to see people wearing whatever jewelery they like..."

For me, the cross I wear is not jewelery, per se. I don't wear it for personal adornment. It is more of a reminder - and one I feel priveleged to wear. It is not the cross I wear that makes me an Orthodox Christian any more than the wedding ring I wear makes me married. Rather it is a symbol.

"but I don't wear any and would feel utterly crazy if I had to wear a cross around the neck, not because of the cross, but because it was a necklace, always on my neck, touching my skin and something I have to take care of and worry about breaking or falling off or being ripped apart. I get up in the morning and run out the door. I don't want to have to think about putting a cross on."

Well, if the cross is a bother, then I think you might be missing the point. I actually leave mine on all of the time, except in the shower. And it's no more bother to put it on after a shower than it is to put my socks on. It is a good opportunity for me to reverence it and to remember why I wear it.

"I love Orthodoxy and I never thought this would be so important. I don't want to wear a necklace or have anyone waste money buying a necklace for me I would never wear. What do you think?"

I think that if you are drawing near to the Orthodox Church and this is a big worry for you, that this is a discussion which would be best had with a priest.

Thanks again for dropping by.

Ryan said...

Thanks. I certainly love the cross and venerate it. I would even like to buy one for my home. I realize that my aversion to jewelry is probably a psycological disorder or even pride. Most people throughout history wore some form of jewelry or other. Even men. If I was a priest or monk I guess I wouldn't have much of a choice. That is why I am wondering if it is a form of obedience for lay people or just a "lower case t" tradition. I am actually meeting my priest tonight. No worries.