This old adage couldn’t be more relevant, when daily images on the news express plainly what words alone cannot fathom. From scenes of a defenceless humanity choked under the knee of bigotry and hate, to the idolatries of a president who props the bible for his own partisan politics. The image has the power to shake us from the very core of our being, to take hostage the human spirit, to assault our vision. But this is not simply an Atlantic affair. To take seriously the belief that we are made in the image and likeness of God, is to recognise that we live in an iconoclastic age- when we as living icons are trampled by the powers that be, our bodies broken, our witness airbrushed out of the annals of time and history.
But as the Gospel reminds us today, Christ is our iconoclasm par excellence. The scandal of the cross defies all imagination, suspends all ignorance and disbelief. It topples the bronze statues of prejudice and hate, and smelts the golden calves of our selfish desires. It defaces with righteous anger those we cast into horrific caricature; the refugee, the stranger, black prophets and prophetesses, the dispossessed and the unyielding unbeliever.
In the end to ‘take up the cross’ is to self surrender one’s life to a process of becoming, of seeking a life of authenticity, hope and love in the death and resurrection of Christ. It calls us to rise against those systems and ideals that hold captivity captive, to descend from the painful heights of Golgotha and in so doing usher a new creation. Only then can we recover who we truly are. Cross shaped people with cross shaped lives.