Keeping The Cross In The Center

Keeping The Cross In The Center

Recently I was looking through old sermons that I had preached a long time ago, and found one that I wanted to share with you.  The title I gave it back in 2006 was, The Cross In The Center.  In this post I want to focus on keeping the cross in the center of your preaching.  You will notice, if you are a regular reader of this blog, that I’m breaking from the series of posts on learning better preaching techniques from how a journalist approaches his/her work.  The first post on that subject is here.

The Cross In The Center

There is a church in the city of Old Greenwich, Connecticut that has a rather unique architectural feature.  The architect didn’t put the cross where you’d expect to see it.  Usually you find the cross in a church on the wall behind the pulpit, or in the back of the worship area.  Sometimes you’ll find the cross in a stained glass window.  But in this church, the cross is right in the center of the platform.  The picture shows the platform of this church.   I wrote this church, asking about the choice to put the cross there.    The cross is anchored in the concrete of the floor.  It is removable, but it is quite a challenge.

Imagine the challenge this is for the church.  For instance, where do you preach from?  Do you stand to the side, or do you stand behind the cross?  And what do you do with a praise team?  Do they stand behind this rather distracting cross, or in front of it?   What about a wedding?  What do you do with a funeral?  It seems problematic, doesn’t it, to have this cross where it is?

Yet, having said that, you have to admit that this church is committed to keeping the cross in the center of their worship.  How important is that?  Let’s reflect on that for a few moments.

Paul’s Commitment to Keeping the Cross in the Center

This is what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church about the importance of keeping the cross in the center of his preaching.  This is a quote from 1 Corinthians 2:

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

Obviously, the cross occupied a great deal of Paul’s preaching.  He was committed to keeping the cross in the center of his preaching.

What We Learn From the Cross

Just prior to his statement of commitment to the preaching of the cross, Paul tells us that we learn some important things about ourselves when we come to the cross.  This is how he puts it:

26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”[a]

There are several things to explore in that section.   In the next post, I’m going to focus on what we learn about ourselves, as well as what we learn about God.