THE MEANING AND SIGNIFICANCE OF CROSS USAGE IN CELESTIAL FOLD
THE USE OF CROSS
In a typical Celestial Church of Christ, one would find signs or symbols of cross as follows:
(i) At each of the four doors leading to the church, there is long (about five feet) wooden or metallic bar made in form of a cross. This is used to prevent people from entering during prayers and sermons. Each one them carries a metallic cross.
(ii) Each altar cloth carries seven crosses made of blue clothes on the white altar cloth.
(iii) Each altar has a standing cross.
(iv) The floor of the church is designed such that the length from the door to the altar and from one side door to the other forms a cross. There are other crosses depending on the design on the railings demarcating the altar.
CROSSES ON CHILDREN
A typical child of a member of Celestial Church of Christ carries at least one metallic cross on his neck. At times,a child may hang three or seven metallic crosses on his neck.
A small babe,may also wear three crosses on each leg.
Adult, apart from the crosses on his loins,may also wear crosses on his neck.
Crosses are usually made of:
(i) metallic materials
(ii) cloth for decoration of loins
(iii) immature palm leaves for use at the appropriate times.
The number of crosses which are displayed in a typical Church warrants that one calls the church ‘Celestial Church of Crosses ‘.
Many Christian denominations have criticized the church for the cross phenomenon. They say it is not necessary to wear a cross. Some say since Jesus has risen, it is no more necessary to use crosses. Some say that the wearing of the cross is equivalent to the use of images which God absolutely has rejected.
We should recall that Oshoffa narrated the covenant which Jesus made with him. The centre of that covenant was the cross. For this reason, the cross is the centre of life and worship for the Celestial Church of Christ.
Whenever a Christian sees a cross, what significance does it make to him or her? To me as a Christian, the cross reminds me that Jesus dies on the cross for me. He suffered for me. Of all the sinners of the world, I am the thief,Jesus, who was without sin,and without blemish left his glory in heaven to taste death on the cross that I may live. The cross is the centre of christian life. I need to be reminded constantly. Human memory is short,and hence I need something to remind me.
Moreover, when I hang the symbol of Jesus crucified on me,satan is bound to run away when it comes into contact with me.
What gave rise to the first Century Church?It was the cross. In fact,the cross was a stumbling stone to the first century people and so it is today.
The seven Pauline epistles to the churches form the basis of Christianity and these epistles are addressed to the believers. That the centre of Paul’s message was the cross is shown in 1 Corinthians Chapter 1,verses 17-18,22-23 and Galatians 6:14
The glory of Paul lies in preaching the cross. If I preach Jesus crucified, am I wrong to practicalize what I teach by displaying the cross on my dress?
Christians who live in a manner unworthy of their calling are the enemies of the cross. Phil 3:18
Jesus himself urged his disciples or followers to carry their cross everyday. This means that believers should discipline themselves and suffer both external and internal persecution if the need arises. Mt 16:24
No Christian would deny the importance of the cross but what some disagree with is the external show of it. According to some believers, the cross should be hidden in the heart. This school of thought should also realize that there is usefulness in the exhibition of the cross for the sake of remembering the purpose of the cross always.
Christians should not be told to put the cross into remembrance. If we do not remember the cross every minute, what else do we have? Nothing! Christians should decorate their dress,body and houses with the cross because the cross is our life. Without the cross there is no Christ, and without Christ, there is no abundant life.
Today the preaching of the cross has given place to the teaching of financial prosperity. This is an error. It is not possible to have financial prosperity without passing through the cross.
In conclusion, the carrying or the display of crosses by some believers, in self-denial is not based merely on external imitation, it is essentially founded on the Christian’s mystical union with Christ, whereby they too have been crucified with Christ.
The witches, the wizards,satanic forces and stubborn spiritual powers in heavenly places cannot stand in the presence of the cross because they know that the cross was the key God used to save mankind and to reduce satan into a mere puppet. The cross is the power of Jesus Christ as Christ is the power of God.
Culled from pages 127 -130 of the book,THE COMING OF OSHOFFA AND THE BIRTH OF CELESTIAL CHURCH OF CHRIST, by Baba S.O. Odeyemi,1992.