I know I will get a lot of different responses to carrying a cross. First, let me explain the reasoning of why our team sometimes carries the cross. Our heart is to show an expression of Jesus to people that is pure; separate from religion, politics, and even American Christian culture. You might think that carrying a giant cross around town is not the smartest way to convey that message:) When people see someone carrying a cross around, you can just imagine what is going through their mind, and because of their preconceived ideas about Christianity or the Church, what is going on in their mind is probably negative. But this is the reason why we carry the cross and go to people!
We want to show them that this is not the case. We want them to experience a follower of Jesus up close. We want to show them that we are about love and not spreading our “agenda” or spreading a message of hate or judgment. Jesus is all about loving people and that is what we want people to experience.
Why the giant cross? Sure, there are others ways to show people who we really are, and we still do all those different things. This is just another way we felt like God wanted us to share his love with others. It is that simple. And there is a special significance and experience that they would miss if we were not doing it this way.
How do people react? People respond great! Out of all the times we have done this, we have NEVER had one bad response. Now maybe some were having negative thoughts in their heads when they saw us coming, but after they saw our love for them, I believe those thoughts were long gone. Now you may be thinking, these people are responding in a positive way because they are Christians, but I want to make very clear that we are not walking up to Christians. We are walking around people of all different religions, backgrounds, and beliefs. We are walking around drug addicts and alcoholics and hopefully finding prostitutes. We usually don’t walk up to people, but we let them walk up to us. And guess who comes up to us most of the time? Non-Christians! Again, to make my point of this blog, people really are drawn to Jesus.
Here is what we do. We walk around with the cross and look for people to love and to pray for. It’s that simple. Usually we let them come to us, but sometimes we go up to people who look like they are hurting, or maybe we feel a “nudge” from God to go up to a specific person. We find hurting people everywhere we go! They open up to us about all of their problems and pains. Love is needed out there in a big way. People are hungry for it. Once they see that this is what we are about, their guard is down and they never turn us away. They get to experience followers of Jesus first hand in a unique way, and they get to see that Jesus is a God of love and not judgment.
“I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.” John 3:17
Important note: Do not carry a giant cross in the middle of an African American community if you are white and have a shaved head!:). We were getting the cross out of our truck and a few African American girls happened to be sitting out on their front porch. They thought that we were the Klan. They had their phones ready to call the police because they thought that we were going to light it on fire. Well, after an hour with one of the girls, we were praying over her and tears were flowing from her eyes, and the girls on our team have been hanging out with her ever since.
We will plan better next time!:)
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