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Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Holy Cross Day and Bling-Bling 


Today is the feast day of the Holy Cross, a day, as my priest said in her sermon this morning, when we commemorate a thing, an event, and a transcendant object. Unusual, to say the least, as far as feast days go. She began her sermon by talking about the tide of fashion trends, and how recently, the practice of wearing large, gold, ostentatiously diamond encrusted crosses has become popular among the rapper community. The congregation of mostly retirees stared at her with blank expressions. She asked, "If I used the phrase 'bling-bling', would it mean anything to you?" I laughed out loud. Others continued staring, some slightly slack-jawed with furrowed brows. She went on to say that she believes this trend is less a devotional practice and more a signal of extreme narcissism.

I wear a cross around my neck, but I've never categorized it as bling. It is a fairly small, unornate, silver cross hanging on an unassuming silver chain. My grandmother got it for me when I was in the 8th grade and I had it blessed by the parish priest. To the best of my ability, I have worn it everyday thereafter. But, I have been tempted somedays to not wear it. I have been tempted, and given in to that temptation, on certain occasions to not wear it because I don't want to automatically be identified as some sort of "ultra-Christian". That's fear talking. That's the Devil talking. I'll get dressed to go out to the bars or something and think, 'I'll not wear the cross tonight.' When I give into that temptation, I am giving into my narcissism, and not submitting to Christ. Not that Jesus cares if I wear a cross or not, but if I'm going to wear one, I imagine He wants me to wear it for Him and not for me. It is a symbol that should not point to me, but to Him.

And, let's be realistic, it's the symbol of a torture device. Were Jesus to be crucified today, in a hundred years we'd all be wearing electric chairs around our necks. As this morning's preacher noted, "Let's see them cast that in gold with diamonds encrusting it!"

The way I want to look at it is like the pirate black spot. If you received the black spot, you were marked for assassination. If you wear the cross, you are marked to be crucified with Christ. That is no light task. That is not something we should shrug off or whimsically put on because we feel like it, or it goes with our outfit, or the persona we're adpoting for that event. In our baptism we are "marked as Christ's own, forever." 'Forever' is not a word that can be qualified, and so too cannot the cross of Christ.

-R

4 Comments:

Illustrative aid: a modern example of the Black Spot (and very reasonably priced!).

By Blogger G. Brooke, at 11:59 AM  


Now the question this post brings to mind is what would happen to church attendance if Jesus were a pirate?

By Blogger BrotherBeal, at 2:38 PM  


I have heard bling bling used several times and still haven't gotten the gist of it. Of course there is yarn called Bling Bling, but I KNOW it has nothing to do with what the meaning of it is.
Bet Bling bling hasn't made it into the Oxford Dictionary yet.

Glad I found your blog!

By Blogger Cathy, at 10:13 AM  


Hi Cathy -

Glad you stopped by too! And glad I can help you understand the finer points of bling bling...:) Hope to see you around some more. God bless!

-R

By Blogger Ryan, at 12:05 AM  


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