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Celebrating our Sources: The Latin Cross




From the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations:

The living tradition which we share draws from many sources:


Jewish and Christian teachings call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves.


Across our land, Christian communities are celebrating Easter this week.  Thus this week, we focus on our sanctuary banner showing a dark Latin cross on a green background, and we reflect on the Christian roots of our Unitarian Universalist history.  The symbol itself recalls the trial, conviction of sedition and finally crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, by Roman authorities in Jerusalem in about the year 29 of the Common Era.  In the modern era, this plain Latin cross is recognized as the symbol of Christianity, appearing on churches, publications, tombstones and worn as an ornament by believers. Roman Catholic Church and believers announce their faith with a Latin cross bearing the body of the crucified (crucifix).  It has not always been this way however. Drawings of the Good Shepherd with His sheep often appeared on the tombs of Christians in ancient Rome.  The plain Latin cross, and the corresponding crucifix, did not begin to appear as a symbol until after the year 900 C.E. This “brand” seemed to have a more rousing effect on both knights and pilgrims at the time of the Crusades.   More history can be found in the recent best seller, Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of this world for Crucifixion and Empire by scholars, Rebecca Ann Parker and Rita Nakashima Brock of our own Starr King Theological Seminary.  Parker is the retiring president of that seminary.


Josephine Leach, April 20, 2014

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