Wednesday, March 07, 2007

"The Shape of Faith"

In addition to the "shape of faith" many trace on themselves daily, Ash Wednesday saw many people signed with the cross in ashes on their foreheads. The significance of the cross matches Christian faith itself. The history of the sign of the cross is significant, illuminating and very rich.

In the 27 Februrary 2007 issue of Christianity Today, Nathan Bierma reviewed two recent books whose authors (one Roman Catholic, the other Eastern Orthodox) examine the sign of the cross. Bierma's article, "The Shape of Faith: The sign of the cross is a reminder of whose we are," is a breezy read and full of informative nuggets. The colorful history of the sign of the cross had a felicitous influence on Bierma:
After reading these two books, this previously ignorant Protestant, for one, has decided to introduce the sign of the cross into his daily prayer, as a link with the early church, a sign of God's claim on me, and a reminder of the mystery of the Trinity.
This ancient gesture is not only sacred; even reading its history has sacred effects!
Image of Jerusalem Cross is in the public domain.

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