SERMON TITLE: “Meditations on the Cross: The Lamb of God”
SERMON TEXT: 1 Peter 1:13-21
PREACHER: Rev. Kim James
OCCASION: March 20, 2022, at First UMC
During this Lenten season that leads up to Good Friday and Easter, we’ve been meditating on the cross. So far we’ve considered the cross as the power and wisdom of God and the cross as the love of God. Last week I told you about a woman who has a big cross necklace collection. Today I’ve brought with me a couple of Celtic crosses. Since we just celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, I thought it would make sense to talk about the cross that is commonly used in Ireland. I know these are too little for you to see, but I think you’ll recognize the description. While they may have more or less decorative features, all Celtic crosses are basically the same. Besides the vertical and horizontal bars of the cross, a Celtic cross also has a circle that goes around the intersection of the cross. No one is exactly sure why the circle was used. Possibly it was a practical feature to help support the arms of the cross, so that stone crosses would stand up more strongly. Possibly the circle was a holdover from the previous Irish practice of worshiping the sun. Or, it has been suggested that the circle at the center of the cross is a representation of the saintly halo of Jesus.
Of course, the Celtic cross, like any other type of cross, is a symbol of Christian faith. As Christians, we believe that something very important happened when Jesus died on the cross. For two thousand years, biblical writers and great theologians have tried to figure out exactly how we receive salvation through Jesus’ death. Those teachers of Christian faith have suggested a number of ideas rather than just one. And that’s why we can spend the entire season of Lent considering different ways of understanding what Jesus did for us on the cross. Today, I invite you to look with me at the biblical text of First Peter, chapter one, and imagine how the cross helps us think about how our salvation comes through Jesus, the Lamb of God.