Some pastors wear a pectoral cross while leading worship. It was something I did regularly during much of my active ministry. I had several such crosses. Among them was one that was far from fancy. Actually, it was quite simple. That cross was not professionally made, but had been fashioned from a piece of thin, unfinished balsa wood. A ballpoint pen had been used to inscribe two words on that homemade cross, two words that were relatively few in their number of letters, but huge in meaning. On the horizontal arm of the cross was written the word GOD, while on the vertical arm appeared the word LOVES. GOD LOVES. The two words cleverly shared the letter O.
The cross was obviously the handiwork of a creative child, a child who just happened to be our younger son. That cherished cross was a Father’s Day gift to me many years ago. What a treasure it remains to this day. I still wear it on occasion, even though the green twine that suspends it from my neck is becoming more and more frayed.
That cross is precious for two reasons: its message and its source. Love is what makes it so special: a Father’s love for his creation and a son’s love for his Dad. If only the message of that crudely made cross could be the norm and guiding light for each of us. To know the power of the cross, the depth of God’s unconditional love in Christ, is what can root our lives in a way nothing else can. To share that love with family, friends and those in need is what can fill us with a wonderful joy and peace. Because GOD LOVES, we love too.
If perchance, you are feeling unloved, unlovable or unloving for whatever reason just now, I’d urge you to remember the timeless message of that simple balsa wood cross–
LET US PRAY: Eternal God, we pray that your love in Christ would stand front and center in our lives. And, knowing that love, we ask that you would use us to make it come alive for others. Fill us each day with your grace and focus our sights always on the cross, your plus sign for our lives. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Daily Message Author: Eric Wogen
Pastor Eric Wogen was born in Chicago, Illinois, and claims mid-western roots, even though he lived in many different places while growing up due to his father’s employment with the Pennsylvania Railroad. A graduate of Radnor High School in suburban Philadelphia, he received an AB in History from Gettysburg College and a MDiv degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. His first call was to a wonderfully affirming congregation in Sellersville, PA, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Ridge Valley, where he joyfully served until being called as Assistant to the Bishop of the Southeastern Synod (LCA). He returned to parish ministry in 1979 when he was called to serve St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Hanover, PA. After more than twenty years at St. Matthew, he was called by St. Armand’s Key Lutheran Church in Sarasota, Florida to be its pastor and served there until his retirement in 2008. Full Bio