The Old Glass Cross

This probably shouldn’t bother me like it does.  Looking through the catalog of a religious supply company, I chanced upon an appreciation gift.  It was a was a 7 inch free-standing cross made of glass.  Etched in it were these words, “In Appreciation For Your Service in God’s Work.”


In appreciation for His service on the cross, we should receive His cross and the bleeding, suffering, sighing and dying He does there.  In appreciation for His service on the cross, we should bear whatever crosses come our way.  But “should” is the Law and even here it seems I do a disservice to the cross and the Crucified One.  Better would be to say the cross is best appreciated when what Christ done there is received as one’s own and when one, in Luther’s words, embraces his individual cross and lets the nails go in deep.


If you gave me such a cross in appreciation for my service in God’s work, all I could do is blush with shame.  This cross would ever stand as a monument of what I have so often shunned, disowned, denied.  I have borne guilt as if He didn’t; I have acted as if my sins weren’t really all paid for, and I have bitterly complained about the mildest of crosses that have entered my life. 


What I shouldbe given in recognition of my service is a statue of a crowing roster, thirty pieces of silver, and bobble head of Thomas that slowly shakes from side to side indicating, “I doubt it.  I doubt it.”  But what I amgiven is a rough hewn, wooden cross with a corpus pierced by nails that I pounded in and a spear wielded by my hands.  What I am given is Water from His wounded side to drown that crowing roster; Words that are apples of gold in pictures of silver because they forgive my betrayals, and Body and Blood that steady my quivering doubts. Give me these; give Him your appreciation.

About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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4 Responses to The Old Glass Cross

  1. Josh S. says:


    Amen. The only good gifts are the ones the Lord gives.

  2. Scott says:

    I noticed that the cross which you speak of replaces Christ and His body in exchange for what……. This cross for some reason reminds me of what Niebur said concerning the message of liberal Christianity “they preach about a God without wrath who brought a people without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”

  3. Bart Goddard says:

    Such humility! It makes you seem so….so…winsome. In the spirit of “A good host makes his guest feel at home; a good guest remembers that he’s not at home”, it’s one aspect for you to consider what you deserve, and another for the congregation. We’re under Scriptural orders to grant you “double honor”, after all, so if you claim to be _too_ undeserving of some appreciation, why, then “yer goin’ agin the Bible.”

    Then again, getting a “double portion” didn’t make Elisha exactly comfortable.

    The glass cross reminds of the Disney catalog we got a couple decades ago (when we still subscribed to the Disney Channel.) They were selling a Menorah on which each candle holder was a Disney character, so that the middle candle was stuck in Mickey’s head. “Your kids will be delighted to see their favorite Disney characters in this festive rendition of a holiday tradition.” That’s just one step away from hawking a Mickey-crucifix. So is the glass cross.

    If Mickey can play Bob Crachet, why can’t he play Jesus?

    Sticking a cross on anything seems to sanctify it, whether it’s a cartoon or clever bit of Hallmark poetry or the words “Fan into Flame.” Every beggar concludes his pitch with “God bless”. This seems backwards. The cross doesn’t redeem things, but rather Jesus redeemed the cross.

    Mumbling “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” at the end of a sermon titled “What would Jesus do with your IRA?” doesn’t redeem that sermon. Working a cross into the Ablaze logo doesn’t redeem Ablaze. In fact, when we try to use the cross as a Band-Aid, it just makes things worse. A talk on IRA management is fine…until you try to use the Gospel to shore it up. Mickey is fine…until you put him on the cross. This must be part of the two-edged nature of the Gospel. We hope it will cure, but instead it destroys. We want victory, but get nails.

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