Posted in Lessons, Ponderings

Embracing the Wisdom of the Cross

As we move along the path of spiritual growth, we are invited to embrace a life of balance.  The symbol of the cross can be a reminder of that invitation, no matter what our religion or spiritual beliefs.



Consulting Higher Wisdom

This past weekend, as I was sitting in my respective corner and the kids’ were hiding in theirs (after a week of frenetic travel and activities), I decided it was as good a time as any to consult some higher wisdom.  I pulled out my spiritual wisdom cards and drew six from the deck for insight.  The foundational card that was placed in the center of the spread was the card for “Creative and Spiritual Passion.”  The next card, placed on top of the first card was the card for meditation and retreat.  I then placed four other cards  – two, horizontally on either side of the first two cards and two vertically, one above and one below the center cards.  Interestingly, both horizontal cards also represented meditation, reflection and retreat.  The two vertical cards, like the foundational card, represented creative passion, along with the final reminder that in order for work to be fulfilling, it must also reflect a spiritual motivation.  When I looked at the cards as a complete message, it was a terrific reminder to balance the spiritual with the material aspects of my life.  HMMMM   I think there might be a universal message here!

Maintaining a Balance

The universal message here is BALANCE.  For me, balance means that I maintain the spiritual practices that sustain me (meditation, journalling, yoga, contemplation, prayer, chant), cultivate the creative practices that feed me (in some ways, literally), nurture the relationships that enliven me (with family, friends, and in work), and allow time for work and for play.  In a more general sense, it is about the balance of the spiritual (the being) and the material (the doing).  I do not believe it is a coincidence that this message revealed itself to me in the shape of the cross.  I believe it is this message of balance that is the ultimate meaning of the cross, and a message that can transcend spiritual beliefs and religious practice.  Even saying this, I can feel the collective hair standing up on the back of readers’ necks (for a wide variety of reasons).  Before you get your undies in a bundle over this idea…let me further explain! 


My Own Journey with the Cross

Growing up Catholic, the cross was one of the central symbols that infused my life.  The cross, in the form of a crucifix, hung in every room of our home.  All four of Lumby kids received a crucifix as a First Communion present, along with a rosary, with a cross in the form of a crucifix hanging from the end of the string of beads.  Every classroom at St. Alphonsus elementary school had a crucifix hanging on the wall and every morning, we stood up at our desks, said the Pledge of Allegiance, then turned to the crucifix, hung our heads in prayer, made the sign of the cross and recited our morning prayers, sealing the deal with another sign of the cross.  I think you get the picture – the CROSS was it, specifically, the cross in a form of a crucifix on which hung the bloody, crucified body of Jesus.  The preponderance of this image spoke of the theology we were expected to embrace – a theology focused on the suffering and death of Jesus.  “Jesus died for our sins.”  While there is a deep truth behind this kind of theology, the human Jesus and more importantly, the resurrected Christ sometimes got lost in all those mea culpas! 


A Cross beyond the Suffering

While I can appreciate the image of the cross as crucifix as a reminder of Jesus’ suffering and death, the cross can be so much more than that.   As my wisdom cards reminded me, the cross is ultimately a symbol that represents balance and was in fact, utilized in this way by people and cultures who far-preceded Christianity.  For example, the Celtic people (from whom my gene pool originates), used the cross as a symbol of balance and as a reminder of the wheel of change and the cycle of the seasons of the earth.  The cross was a spiritual as well as a material symbol.  It reminded the Celtic people of the higher spiritual consciousness that governed the cycles of material birth, growth, death and rebirth.  Like the Christians after them, the Celtic people embraced the cross as a symbol of death, but more importantly it was a symbol that invited balance and promised new life.  It was a reminder that our human life must contain a balance, like the earth, between seasons of planting and harvest (doing) and seasons of lying fallow (being).  It is this message of the cross – about balance and wholeness that transcends our spiritual beliefs and religious practices and can become a universal message for all to embrace.   (ok, you can breathe now!) 😉

How are you balancing the material (doing) and the spiritual (the being) aspects of your life?

Where are you being invited to explore a more healthy balance in your life?

How is your spiritual life informing your material life?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries


I am a trained, professional Spiritual Director, Author and Hands-on Healer. I offer services, programs and classes that empower you to hear the voice of the Divine that speaks from within you. It is the voice of the Divine that leads us to our highest truth, to the discovery and cultivation of our gifts and to a life of Authentic Freedom where we know contentment, compassion and joy. Your truth will set you free!

5 thoughts on “Embracing the Wisdom of the Cross

  1. The word balance has come to me as well this week in the form of balance between the prostitute and the pastor, which I believe we all have. The only difference I see is the ability or willingness to embrace bothe ends of who we are. Everyones struggle, juggling and evolution between these two personalities looks like their own journey in the balance place.

    Thank you for your stimulation and your courage to put it out there for others to example or find themselves in 🙂

    PS, I wear my cross upsidedown and am delighted to know it actually has an orginal purpose in the Christian religeonon turned “wrong”. The sign of the cross upside down is symbolic of righting what is out of balance,,,,,some years later it was attempted to be used or projeted as a sign of satanism…..not true around my neck.

    Love and Passion in Life,
    Renee Beese

    1. Amen sister….and why do we has women have to struggle with this dynamic….It seems that men already get this and live it freely. HHHMMM Maybe something we can learn from the guys!

  2. Furthermore, the cross has a vertical component that reminds us of our connection to the Lord and a horizontal component that reminds us of our relationship with each other. But, beyond that, it also reminds me of the saragosa cacti that look like standing men in the desert, especially at night. Not scary men, but men with their arms stretched out to embrace you…just like the land in the southwest. It’s like a hug. A different image than the crucifix (His death for our redemption) or even the empty cross (the promise of a new life)…both valid and both good. But for me the image of the cactus is a offer of a big hug from a Father, Abba, Who loves us so. And Who so wants us to love each other.

    Hugs, Lauri~Jan

  3. I’m replying to the image of the prostitute and the pastor and have some thoughts. If men relate to these two images, for them, one can be when they receive and one is where they give back. When women think of these two images they are both from the perspective of giving. Maybe we struggle with it because we don’t have an image from which we can receive. Running on empty is often more common with women, in my opinion. So, maybe the challenge is to find whatever feeds you as a woman…whether it’s massage or working out or yoga or meditation or shopping or having an occasional lunch with good friends. The important thing, it seems to me, is to make replenishing your energy, feeding your soul, a priority. It’s just like the instructions that we receive when we get on a plane…”should we lose cabin pressure, the oxygen masks will automatically be released. Be sure that, if you are traveling with small children, that you put your mask on FIRST.” So, when we think of replenishing ourselves, we can think of it like air to our lives…a space we have created to breath.~Jan

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