THE CROSS AROUND THE NECK

by CharlesRobey
(Trussville, AL USA)

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.'” (I Corinthians 1:18-28)

Tomorrow will be a sad day for me, a day when I wished I didn't head up the county engineering work crew. The court has declared the removal of the big cross displayed at the county Veterans Memorial cemetery entrance. And it was my task, as county supervisor, to oversee this unfortunate, ill-fated project.

And to top it off, rumor has it that there will be many dedicated patriotic protestors at this event. Somehow, I can't much blame them. You see, it was my great-granddad, a dedicated World War I veteran, who had spearheaded the placement of this cross in memory of all our county's war heroes. Oh well, it's the law, sad to say. Progress or not, the law must be enforced.

So for now, I must get some sleep. Tomorrow will be very taxing on the old nerves. Then it happened. I must have really been mentally stressed, not realizing how much this pending project had drained me emotionally.

All of a sudden , this unusual character appeared standing at the foot of my bed. "Is this really Uncle Scrooge from the famous Christmas story?" I wondered. "It can't be but he is dressed the same."

Not saying a word, he grabbed my hand, and away through my bedroom window we went.

This unusual character then guided me over the land terrain to a rather large out-of-the-way building. This particular structure had the appearance of being unoccupied for some time. The brick structure was cracked and broken down. The weed growth had grown to the height that almost hid the broken windows. Structural decay was all over the place.

What really caught my eye was an old broken-down church steeple lying in the dirt beside the building. I assumed, by seeing the steeple, that this had been a church at one time.

"Where are we and what are we here for?" I asked.

Without saying a word, we landed on the ground, and this strange character steered me inside through a broken-down doorway.

Once inside, I realized this facility had in fact once been a church, as the inside broken down decor configuration had all the markings of a real church. It was at this point, that he led me through a doorway captioned "Death" and into a large sanctuary.

Much to my surprise, this room was filled with the most eccentrically dressed people, in long black, hooded garments. They were just sitting around with no movement, looking as if they had no real purpose in life. It was just as if they were a bunch of dead folks. And each of these strange characters was wearing jewelry with trinket charms resembling an electric chair.

I just couldn't get over this scene. Why it practically put me in a state of shock!

"Please sir, what's this all about?" I pleaded, "Why all the trinket representations of death?"

It was at this point the man decided to speak.

"These unusual electric chair trinkets are representative of death. It's a death with no hope of love, mercy, grace, redemption, or forgiveness; a death with no hope of a new life after death. That's the thought behind all this drab setting. They just have no hope of the future," he concluded.

"Oh, I get it. These people are just sitting around with the anticipation of death with no hope. Do they not know the Scriptures? Have they not heard of the Blessed Hope, (Titus 2:12-13) and the hopeful life beyond the grave (John 14:6)?" I responded rather remorsefully.

Not saying a word, the gentleman took me by the hand and led me out of the sanctuary and into an adjacent room. This particular room had a big overhead sign which read "Life"

Wow, what a different set of surroundings and attitude! For this room too was filled with people. These people were dressed in bright, colorful outfits and wearing charms as well, but of a different nature. These trinkets were in the shape of a cross, and these crosses stood out, as if they had a certain divine glow about them.

"Now sir, please tell me, is what I am seeing real?" I asked.

This is when the strange gentlemen seem to put on a new look, as of an Old Time Religion preacher, as he started his dissertation.

"You see my son, both these symbols represent death. They are both identical signs of death. What makes the difference is that the cross represents the cross of Calvary, where the Son of God died for you and me, and for the whole world. You see, the cross is now a sign of life."

"Buildings are draped with it. Cemeteries memorialize it. Churches are ever so proud to display it. Why people even sing songs about it."

"Not that these nice-looking trinket charms have any intrinsic physical value or makeup The value lies in what these charms stand for; the hope, love, mercy, grace and a new life, that the cross symbolizes," he concluded.

"How radical is this, worshipping a symbol?" I remarked.

Sensing my blunt reaction seemed to cause him religious indignation, so he continued even more intent in his preacher mode.

"How radical is the power of God? It's to take an old rugged cross, an instrument of cruel death and turn it into an instrument of mercy, love and forgiveness. It turns an instrument of anguished, torturous death, the most evil object of ancient times of punishment, into one of love, forgiveness and eternal life."

"What you have seen in these two contrasting rooms is the difference between light and dark. It is the difference between having no hope and that of turning a life into one of promised expectation, from sorrow into joy. And most importantly, it is to turn eternal death into eternal life." (Ephesians 1:6-7)

"So the main object lesson here. The turning of these dark, hopeless electric chair symbols into a cross symbol of light and eternal victory. It can be done, you know." (Romans 19:9-10)

And with that this strange man not only concluded his sermon but quickly and mysteriously disappeared as he had arrived in my bedroom.

What happened next was curiously unusual. It was pure providence. I was suddenly awakened by the most bizarre phone call. On the other end of the line was the Chairman of the County Commission.

"Hope I didn't wake you too early, but I had to get in touch with you before you left for the cemetery. By popular demand from the people, we had an emergency commission meeting and we have unanimously rescinded the order to remove the cemetery cross."

"If you don't mind, Sir, what changed?" I asked.

"Simply put, the citizen's group had researched and found the story behind the institution of the memorial cross. Your great-granddad was some kind of war hero. You must be proud. So turn back over and get a little extra shut-eye," he concluded.

All I could do then was shout a big Amen through my tears, as my head hit the pillow. (Jeremiah 32:27) Oh yes, I did visit my church pastor. Amen!

Author's Postscript

I trust you have enjoyed reading this fictional dream blog as much as I have had writing it.

If you have followed my blogs lately, you will see I enjoy writing about the fictitious dream world. I love to write modern-day parables that have a spiritual principle.

Dreams tend to have a variety of connotations, of scientific, philosophical and religious peculiarities among them. Writing these dream blogs with a spiritual objective is an enjoyment for me. I trust you will enjoy continuing to read them.

In this particular dream blog we see the difference between darkness and light. (John 8:12) The difference between death and life. That difference being the cross. (1 Cor 1:18)

So how does one overcome such darkness ? Simply put, add more light. (John 8:12)

From the very beginning of our creation, God not only created light (Genesis 1:2-3), but continued such light. (1 Corinthians 4:6)

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