THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: An instrument of torture is symbol of God's love
IN the 1980s there used to be a very popular poster with the words saying 'If you were accused of being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?', writes Charlene Thornberry of Palace Avenue Methodist Church in Paignton.
I thought this was rather clever and made me think about how firm my faith was.
However, we have moved on from that era and now we are dealing with a very different society where this question would be seen as a bit patronising or even tinged with a bit of hellfire and brimstone. Heaven forbid!
Recently, we have read and heard about two individuals who have had to leave their place of employment due to their refusal to cover up their emblem of faith — the cross.
The row over the cross has left our own Prime Minister with a dilemma.
He wants to appear sympathetic to Christianity. However, the British lawyers briefed by the coalition have told the EU Court of Human Rights that Christians in Britain should not expect to be allowed to wear a cross at work or with a uniform.
Courts have now ruled against Miss Eweida, a BA steward, and a Miss Chaplin, a nurse.
If it means no crosses in the workplace today, we need to ask what will it be in five years' time?
Restricted hours of worship, restricted building of churches — who knows but we, as Christians, need to be aware that we are entering challenging times as far as our faith is concerned.
Personally, I am not a fan of jewellery but it has prompted me to think about buying a cross which I will wear with pride as a Christian.
Many will say you do not need to wear symbols to indicate your faith, that it is more how you behave but now, more than ever, we need to cling onto this symbol of Christ resurrected.
And what of other faiths — I sincerely believe that their emblems and signs should also be protected.
Religious beliefs are personal but they are also driven by community.
In the human being there is an inherent need to belong and by the wearing of faith symbols we can identify with others.
Today, crosses are very much a popular form of jewellery but what does it mean to us?
A few months ago Steve a member of our congregation commented that it was so significant that the cross of Roman times, an instrument of torture, became with Christ's death, a symbol of His love.