Cross of Glory
This cross is fittingly used for Easter. It is a simple Latin Cross with a rising sun placed behind it. Like most every cross examined, this one too has many variations. In many traditions, as the sun rises, Gloria, an ancient Latin doxology, is sung (or spoken). It is perhaps one of the earliest Christian hymns. Sung at daybreak, when light replaces darkness, the rising sun is a reminder of the resurrection of Christ and the anticipation of Christ’s return.
“The one who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.” (Revelation 22:20-21)
“We adore you O Christ and we praise You, for it is by Your holy cross that You have redeemed the world.” (Stations of the Cross)
The Arrow Cross
This is also called a Cross Barby or Barbee in heraldry. In Christian use, the ends of this cross resemble the barbs of fish hooks, or fish spears. This alludes to the Ichthys symbol of Christ, and is suggestive of the “fishers of people” theme in the Gospel. Like many other cross images, the arrows can also be understood as the call to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Disappointingly, in modern use the Arrow Cross is associated with extremist groups in Europe and the United States.
“Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” (Matthew 4:19)
Merciful God, forgive us when we take images of love and sacrifice and twist them for our own selfish gain. Teach us again what it means to pick up the cross and bear it each day out of love for You and our neighbor. Strengthen us that we may not grow weary in doing good to the very ends of the earth. Amen.
Cross of St. James
The Cross of St. James is adapted from the Cross Fitchy by adding a cross fleury (the arms end in fleurs-de-lys) or a cross moline (the ends of the arms are forked and rounded). In heraldry, it is also called the Santiago Cross or the cruz espada. James was one of the son’s of Zebedee and a disciple of Jesus.
“… whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave (Matthew 20:26-27)
Savior, Servant and Sustainer, lead us to serve in this world and not conquer; lead us to live by faith and not fixed opinions; lead us that we may follow and not demand. Lead us Lord, for there is none like You. Amen.
The Cross Fitchy
The name fitchy comes from the French for “fixed” referring to the distinctive pointed lower limb. It is thought that this design was for use by travelling Crusaders who would drive the cross in the ground. Its shape resembles a sword, symbolic of the Crusaders willingness to use force in their cause.
“Then Jesus said to him, ‘Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.’” (Matthew 26:52)
May our hearts be set on You: to follow, to serve, to sacrifice. But let not our hearts stray that we see other means and other ways, thereby using the cross instead of serving the cross. Fix our eyes that we may see You in the last, the least and the lost. Fix our hearts that we may love You and love our neighbor. Amen.
Variations of this symbol have prehistoric origins and it has been suggested as one of the first symbols of the cross. Pagans used it as veneration of the sun, and therefore it is widely known as the Sun Cross, from which life is dependant. Confusingly, astronomers assign this as the planetary symbol for the earth. In Christian iconography, the sun and cross appear in the Celtic Cross, the Glory Cross, in halos and in communion wafers.
“It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” (Revelation 22:16)
Arise, we pray, arise in our shadowed hearts, that You may illumine our steps, awaken our imagination, brighten our hopes. Arise O Morning Star that we may enter into the life waiting for us – today, tomorrow and all our days. Amen.
The Serbian Cross
The Serbian Cross is a national symbol of Serbia, part of the Coat of Arms of Serbia, and the flag of Serbia. It is composed of a cross symbol with four stylized letters beta (Β) on each of its corners. The actual origin of the beta (Β) symbols goes back to the Byzantine Empire, most often attributed to the motto of the Palaiologoi Dynasty: King of Kings, Ruling Over Kings (Greek: βασιλεύς βασιλέων, βασιλεύων βασιλευόντων).
“…for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.” (Revelation 17:14)
You are Lord, and we need no other.
You are King, and there is no other.
You have called and now we have answered. Lord and King, find us faithful as we serve You on earth, just as we pray that it be so in heaven. Amen.
This is a simple Latin Cross combined with an equilateral triangle, symbolizing the Holy Trinity. It has been attributed that the meaning of this cross is that salvation is the work of Jesus Christ, prompted by the love of the Father, and received by men and women through the work of the Holy Spirit. While Trinitarian symbols are often used with the cross in its many images, the term Trinity is not mentioned in the Bible. It is a theological affirmation embraced as orthodox by the fourth century.
“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.” (John 10:28-30)
Remind us that we belong to You. Nothing can separate us. Nothing can stand between us. There is no power greater than your love and there is no fear that can conquer Your peace. Remind us Lord as we live in this divided world what God has given, no one and no thing can take away. Amen
The Mar Thoma Sliva Cross
The Mar Thoma Sliva Cross, also known as the St. Thomas Cross, is the symbol of the Nasrani people, an ancient Christian community in India. It is believed Christianity was introduced there in the first century by Thomas the Apostle. There are six branches of the cross representing the appearance of God in the burning bush, while the central branch holds the cross, and the dove at the tip of the cross represents the Holy Spirit.
“Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:5-6)
Show us the Way Lord, we want to see.
Show us the Way Lord, we want to know.
Show us the Way Lord, and be merciful in guiding us back when we find ourselves lost.
Show us and walk with us all the Way. Amen.
The term Moline (Millrine or Millrind) comes from the Latin molere ‘to grind’ and molinum ‘mill’. This is because the shape of this cross is similar to the iron bar that supports or secures a millstone. Occasionally the cross is called a Millstone Cross or Miller’s Cross. The Moline Cross is largely found in heraldry or ornamentation. Still, the four double-tipped arms create eight points which remind us of the eight beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount. Because of the curved tips, some have compared it to the Anchor Cross and the Fisherman’s Cross.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)
You Lord, You are the Compassionate One; You are the Shepherd Who Guides; You are the Friend who knows.
You Lord, You are the One who bears our shame; who binds our wounds; who takes away our sin.
You Lord, You are the One known as gentle and merciful.
You Lord, You are Blessed, and have called us to be so too. Amen
The Cross Potent
The Cross Potent is also known as the Crutch Cross and the Teutonic Cross. This particular image, like many of the crosses pictured before, is pre-Christian and has been found in Neolithic petroglyphs, dating back to 2500 BC. Potent comes from the French potencee meaning ‘strong.’ Today it is used by Christian and secular organizations in logos and insignia. The Cross Potent was used as a national symbol of the Austrian First Republic, minted on the backside of the Groschen coins. It is currently used in the coats of arms of the Santa Cruz Department in Bolivia, and of the Wingolf Christian student fraternities in Germany, Austria and Estonia.
“…be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.” (Ephesians 6:10)
Your cross Lord is our strength.
May it forevermore remind us that through Your sacrifice, Your giving, Your love, we have all the strength we need to face this day.
Therefore we take courage, Savior and Friend, that we may be strong, even when we are weak, because You bear us up, day by day, moment by moment, step by step:
Lord, our Strength and our Power. Amen.