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Christian Resources for Worship in Schools

Symbol of Love

The cross of Jesus is central to the Christian Faith. In essence, the cross is not a nice symbol at all: yet Christ has transformed the cross from an instrument of death and torture into a symbol of life and love. This assembly may also be used on the Feast Day of St Bridget of Ireland (February 1)

Opening Activity: Transforming

Ask for some volunteers. Give them some random materials (newspapers, sellotape, twigs, straws, etc.). Invite them to make a cross. Set them against the clock. What have they come up with? How have things have been transformed—from random materials, rubbish even, to make something quite different?

Tell them the story of St Bridget of Ireland (Kildare) who in trying to comfort a dying man took some rushes from the floor and fashioned them into a cross and placed it into the man’s hands. Her listener was both comforted and converted. St Bridget’s Cross is very popular in Ireland and many households have one above their door. Others also place the crosses in the eaves of the roof, in order to ward off fire. Traditionally a new cross is made each year on her Feast Day (February 1) and the old one burned.

Jesus transforms the cross from an ugly to a beautiful symbol
The cross, of course, is an instrument of torture and execution. It was used by the Roman army to punish and execute people. In itself, it is a rather ugly and repulsive symbol. Jesus was arrested, put on trial, and given a cross to carry to the Hill of Golgotha where he was crucified. Over two thousand years, the cross of Jesus has become one of the most important symbols for Christians. It is challenging and comforting. Jesus has transformed an instrument of torture and death into a symbol of hope and life. He has transformed and overcome sin and evil. He has triumphed over sin and evil, and now we can look at things differently, we look at life differently.

The cross shows us how much Jesus loves
When we look at the cross, we can see:
the cost of Jesus’ love for us
How painful love can be.
the power of Jesus’ love for the world
how Jesus has transformed the world.
how Jesus suffers with us
How he has overcome death and darkness to give us and life and light

(If you have them available, you may want to show different kinds of crosses and crucifixes to the pupils and think about their different meanings).

So, if you need assurance that Christ loves you—look at the cross. If you need assurance that Christ has triumphed over dark and difficult situations, look at the cross. The cross has become a symbol of life and love, a symbol of Christ’s victory over death.

Reflection
What does the cross of Jesus mean to us?
What do we think when we look at it?
How does it challenge us?
How does it comfort us?

Prayer
God,
the cross is a strange thing.
It reminds us of death and torture.
But it also reminds us of how much Jesus loves us
and how powerful you are:
you overcome death to give us life. Amen.

What you may need:
Various materials for the volunteers to make a cross:
Newspaper, twigs, sellotape, string, etc.

Also:
A variety of different crosses
A Saint Bridget’s Cross (if you have one)

Also Check Out

Useful Links

1 Corinthians 1: 18, 22-24 The message of the cross
John 3:3-17 God so loved the world

How to make St Bridget’s Cross

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