Coke and the Cross: An Easter Message*
It is said that Coca Cola has the most globally recognizable commercial logo. Coke’s advertisers capitalize on that by associating images and messages to it to sell its product. Logos and symbols through recognition and association have come to possess effective influences on people.
The three great faiths of the world have their own powerful symbol – Christianity has the Cross, Judaism has the Star of David, and Islam has the Crescent. Our Roman Catholics brethren have the Crucifix celebrating the Crucified Christ. Protestants have the empty Cross celebrating the Resurrected Christ.
Be that as it may it seems people may have personalized views of the cross on utilitarian reasons. We know Peter Cushing, I mean Count Dracula of the movies is horrified by it. A cross tattooed on the powerful bicep of an NBA player… does it help bring down more rebounds? Or a public display of faith? Makes me wonder… More commonly a cross is worn as a pendant, an adornment on a necklace. This has somewhat elicited the acerbic comment that we are supposed to be cross “bearers” and not cross “wearers.” I also wonder about that…
Seriously now… while the cross is also viewed as an instrument of death, it does not represent the end of Christ. Jesus died on a cross but rose again from the dead. That is the significance of the empty cross! The resurrected Christ lives and continues to live in us to empower us to work in partnership with God in bringing about God’s eternal plan.
This partnership began when we trusted the claims of Christ that he died for our sins on the cross, and he rose again so that we too may live forever. We were saved by the grace he extended to us and by our faith response. We must be reminded that “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Through Christ we are a “new creation,” ministers of reconciliation, that “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ…” (II Corinthians 5:17-19) We are to partner with God to help transform this torn, hurting, unjust, oppressive world into a realm of freedom, well-being, and justice.
If Coke claims to be the “real thing” and you go buy and drink it, how does the “real meaning” of the empty cross influence you? Happy Easter!
Bishop Nathanael P. Lazaro
The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) will hold its 62nd Easter Sunrise Service on April 24, 2011, at the Liwasang Aurora of the Quezon City Memorial Circle. Click here for the area map.