First things first:
A Cross is the representation of the structure upon which most Christians believe Jesus Christ was murdered.
A Crucifix, on the other hand, is a cross that includes a representation of Christ’s body still attached to it.
It has been my experience that Roman Catholic members tend to prefer the Crucifix, whereas Protestant members tend to prefer the Cross (full disclosure: I am in the “Protestant” group). Quite frequently, I hear Protestants reject the Crucifix because “That’s a dead Jesus, but my Jesus is alive!”
It always makes me cringe when I hear that.
First of all, it’s just a Crucifix, it isn’t a real Jesus on a real Cross — it’s only a representation of the enormous Sacrifice He made for us, and nothing more. Secondly, Jesus wasn’t raised from the Cross, He was actually raised from the grave…. three days later. This means that there was an empty Cross with a dead Jesus in the grave for three entire days before He was raised up again, ergo, a Cross can represent a dead Jesus just as much as a Crucifix can. In fact, since the whole purpose of the Cross was death, I’m not sure how it can be seen as anything other than a representation of a dead Jesus. If one wants to represent a living Jesus, one should have a depiction of an opened tomb instead. Therefore, both Crosses and Crucifixes actually represent a dead Jesus and not a living one; neither is all that different from the other.
This should not be offensive.
It’s a Scriptural fact: Jesus Christ was required to suffer death in order to give us Salvation, there was no other way. His death is something we should keep in mind because without that event we would be forever damned! But does keeping mindful of a dead Jesus mean that we worship a dead Jesus?
Of course not!
To begin with, one should not be worshipping a Cross or Crucifix in the first place. The Bible is very clear that we shouldn’t worship sacred pillars, poles, idols, or any other physical object. To pray or bow to a Cross or Crucifix is worship, and that is not what a Christian is called to do. If you are doing these things, then you are worshipping a dead Jesus, whether you are Roman Catholic or Protestant. But merely having such an object simply for decoration to express your Christian viewpoint is not any act of worship at all. And, since it is not an act of worship, it shouldn’t be twisted to mean that you worship a dead Jesus just for the mere possession of such items. To put it another way, if you aren’t directing your worship to the Cross or Crucifix, then you aren’t worshipping a dead Jesus. Period.
Having such objects in your home shouldn’t be a bone of contention for others — having a simple reminder of what Jesus did for you is no different than having a photograph of a dead loved one in your home as a simple reminder of that person. Just as viewing the photograph of the loved one shouldn’t be misconstrued as worship of the dead person, likewise having a Cross or Crucifix shouldn’t be misconstrued as worship of a dead Jesus.
Let’s stop being judgmental of those who prefer a Crucifix over a Cross because the argument is really twisted.
Peace, and Amen.