26 March

A Surprise Gift Of The Cross. I’ll Wear It

by Jon Katz

I wrote on the blog recently that I was thinking of getting hold of a necklace that would ground me and inspire me as the coronavirus nibbles away at chunks of my life and everyone else’s. It’s true, we really are all in this together.

This will change every one of us.

Today, a reader of the blog sent me this sterling silver cross on a base shaped like a Roman coin.

I love it, and am wearing it and will keep it on me as long as the virus remains a force in our lives and perhaps even beyond.

I am proud to wear this silver cross, even though my spiritual life is a bit muddled. I was born Jewish (my orthodox Jewish grandmother would not like me wearing a cross), and converted to Quakerism when I was 14. But mostly, I am drawn to Christian theology – Merton, Aquinas, Parker Palmer, Tillich.

I do not worship Jesus Christ but I admire him and I am inspired by his values and his life, buried as they are under layers of exploitation, ignorance, and hypocrisy.

There is nothing I know about the life of Jesus Christ that I don’t admire or relate to in some way. I can’t say that about any other spiritual or religious leader I am aware of.

I believe the people betraying his memory by using him to gain political power over other people will regret it. They should pray he isn’t coming back, they won’t like it if he does.

I’ve worn the cross before during difficult periods of my life, and I have always drawn peace and meaning from it. Maybe even some good fortune. The message of Christianity has become part of my message: give of yourself to others.

All the sender told me was that she was a religious person working as a pastor in a church in the Midwest.

“I am sending you this because I am a devout Christian, and because I believe you are, in so many ways, a better Christian than most of the people who make that claim. To worship Jesus Christ is to know him and the truth about him, not to invoke his name to raise a lot of money and built expensive temples up to the sky. So I sent you this silver cross to give you support and strength during a difficult time for all of us. Please keep up your good work, your blog is a ministry. Christ would have blessed it himself.”

Wow. this is an amazing gift, especially from a pastor. And a wonderful message.

I can’t claim to be worthy of it, but I accept it with thanks and appreciation. I won’t be taking my new cross off, day or night, for many months. It already feels like a warm spot above my heart.

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