08-12-07 © qingwa, courtesy of iStockphoto


A Sonoma State University official recently violated a student’s right to express religious freedom. At the confrontation, Audrey Jarvis worked at one of the school’s orientations for incoming freshmen. An administrator ordered the junior to hide her cross necklace.

  • The official deemed the cross as offensive.

By doing so, the staff member committed the very infraction he supposedly wanted to prevent. He didn’t care about insulting a Christian when she had a civil right to wear an expression of her faith. He just didn’t want to affront any non-Christians.

  • The cross can be a powerful symbol.

Because of the nature of crucifixion, early Christians didn’t employ it in religious symbols. To them, the cross was equivalent to what the electric chair would be to modern Americans – a symbol of death.

  • Early iconography was subtler.

Symbols of a shepherd, the ichthys (the Christian fish), or an anchor were much more common in catacombs and churches. The cross didn’t evolve into a Christian symbol until later times.

  • Today, crosses don’t mean as much to most people.

Bearers of crosses in jewelry, clothing, and tattoos very seldom act in a Christ-like manner. Just look at how often you see criminals and others committing profane acts while bearing an image of the cross in some way.

  • In our society, it doesn’t have the same impact it once did.

That’s why Joseph Mozier’s sculpture, Pocahontas, might not speak to the average person. It’s a nineteenth-century marble carving that depicts Pocahontas seeing a cross necklace for the first time. The artist portrays the Native American with a fawn in tow as depicting the princess in her most natural surroundings, yet untainted by European intervention.

  • He stresses her pondering the cross’s meaning.

In her cultural setting, Pocahontas had no knowledge of crucifixion or of Jesus. Yet, the jewelry piece piques her interest as to its meaning, and the Spirit pricks her heart to investigate its purpose.

  • Christians should revisit the meaning of the Savior’s cross.

We need to reevaluate just how Jesus’ crucifixion played its role into our epiphany. Without it, we wouldn’t have reason to claim Him as Savior and Lord.

  • Sometimes, the cross means more to non-Christians.

So many believers neglect what we have through the cross. While modern society lessens one’s focus on the meaning of the cross symbol, it obviously still has the potential to do just that according to the Sonoma State official.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…

~ Romans 1:16, NKJV


What does the cross symbolize to you?