I’m a big fan of action movies. I enjoy a good re-watch of Die Hard or some other action flick. Big explosions, fist fights and shoot-outs are just some of the necessary ingredients. And there is nothing better than a good villain in an action movie, somebody who says something like, “You don’t wanna know what happens when you cross me.”
And as usual, my mind tends to wander to unrelated subjects. Because what I think about is that usually I do want to cross myself. Obviously not in a self-betrayal frame of mind or self-destructive behavior, but as a reminder. A reminder that I’m Baptized.
The sign of the cross + may be made by all in remembrance of their Baptism.
This is the typical type-set in the top of each of the Divine Services in the Lutheran Service Book. It’s put there so that when people begin to worship, they can be certain: These promises are for them. They are Baptized into the family of God. The promises of God are meant for the Children of God and being Baptized into the faith is the certain promise that you are in the family. Therefore, when sins are forgiven, you can make the sign of the cross when the Pastor says, “I therefore forgive you all your sins in the name of The Father, and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit,” you are having a physical reminder that God has certainly forgiven you. Not because of anything you had to do, but because God brought you into the family through Baptism. When we say the Apostles Creed and it ends, “and the life+everlasting. Amen.” that sign of the cross is there for you to be assured, if you have been Baptized into the death of Jesus, you are Baptized into His resurrection as well.
Of course, some people think it’s too Catholic. Others use it as a “good luck” gesture. Some people just don’t like doing it in public worship. There are many reasons why you might not feel comfortable crossing yourself. So let me say this.
You don’t have to cross yourself.
You aren’t any less of a Christian for not making the sign of the cross, nor are you more of a Christian because you do make the sign of the cross. But since you are a Christian, you should cross yourself. Celebrate the fact that you’re Baptized! Christ is Risen, He is Risen indeed! Being Baptized into this promise is something that ought to be celebrated. Not out of compulsion, but a joy that says, “Yes! This promise is for me!”
Personally, it always breaks my heart just a little when I’m around others in worship and I’m the only one crossing myself. I just love being able to have this reminder that these promises are certainly for me, a poor miserable sinner. It reminds me as the service begins that I’m a part of God’s family and this service is God’s Service to me, that my sins are truly forgiven, this body is going to be raised and as the service ends and the Pastor dismisses me with a blessing, the sign of the cross reminds me, I’m God’s own child.
What great joy, what a great reminder.
So, I’m not demanding anything, but I am suggesting:
You should cross yourself!