Are they gone yet? OK, I’ll proceed.
This weekend I had the very fortunate opportunity to attend the wedding of two friends. It was a lovely small service in a quaint wedding chapel and that got me to thinking (uh-oh).
As a rule, I tend to steer clear of Christian-oriented locales. I was going to write that I steer clear of religious-oriented locales, but that’s just too inclusive. As a general rule, religions other than Christianity don’t try to cram their doctrine down my throat. Never once have I been proselytized to by a Muslim or Jew (except for that wacky Jew for Jesus a few years ago, but they are an entirely different kind of animal entirely), and I actually know quite a few Muslims and Jews.
Anyway, sitting in this chapel waiting for the show to kick off, I was struck by something that actually tickled my funny bone: the universal symbol of Christianity is a device of execution.
I understand that over the past couple ofÂ millennia the meaning of the cross has been turned around to a symbolic representation of redemption, etc., and I’m just fine with that, but that doesn’t change the fact that it took Constantine I to abolish it’s use as a method of execution in 337 AD. That’s a full 300 years after it was used on Jesus. Scarily enough, that date is one of the few things that has stuck with me from the formal courses in “Christian History” I took almost ten years ago.
At this point you are probably trying to figure out how I derived humor from my observation of a cross in a wedding chapel on a Saturday morning. Fine, I’ll get to my punchline.
If the time/technology for the events of the New Testament had been shifted by two thousand years or so, it is entirely feasible that the symbol at the altars of Christian churches could be a gas chamber gurney or even the electric chair. That’s what I found funny.
Can you imagine baroquely jewelled and gilded “old sparkys” adorning sacred space. How many people between 0 AD and 337 AD found the cross as repulsive?
These are the things that humor me. Oh, and for all of you who didn’t heed my disclaimer, yes, I do indeed know that I’m going to burn in your “Hell,” but I’ll keep a seat warm for you.