The Christian cross has become a popular fixture in modern culture and is commonly worn on necklaces, rings and other pieces of jewelry. But its use in fashion has led one prominent faith leader to wonder if the symbol’s true meaning is being eroded.
In the forward to “Looking Through the Cross,” the annual Lent book that will be released in February, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, head of the Church of England, voiced his concern over the cross’ current societal standing, the U.K. Telegraph reported.
“For those early Christians it was a badge of shame,” Welby wrote of the cross. “Today it is more commonly seen as a symbol of beauty to hang around your neck.”
He added, “As a friend of mine used to say, you might as well hang a tiny golden gallows or an electric chair around your neck.”
Welby’s concern is that the cross has lost its power due to its presence, many times, as a mere fashion tool. He believes that the symbol has become increasingly trivial and that it no longer holds the same level of power to sway, impact and change people’s lives.
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In the text, Welby also asks if society is now “living with a symbol emptied of power by time and fashion” and argued that the cross should hold true value to Christians who wear it.
“Christianity with a powerless cross is Christianity without a throne for Christ or an aspiration for Christians,” he continued. “A cross that has no weight is not worth carrying. To look through the cross is to seek its weight.”
The Lent book, written by Graham Tomlin, will be released before Lent begins on March 5.
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