IN the province of Zhejiang in eastern China, known as the “Jerusalem of the East” or “China’s Jerusalem”, the government have been removing crosses from churches. They have released a set of guidelines for how crosses are allowed to be displayed.
Since 2013, it is estimated that around 1,200 crosses have been forcibly removed. According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, over 100 people were arrested in connection with cross removals last year.
Christians in the area have held protests and a group of Catholic officials penned an open letter, claiming that removing the crosses “means destroying believers’ faith as well as destroying love and indulging hatred”.
Church leaders have encouraged believers to make their own crosses, paint them a bright red colour and show them in prominent places, as an act of defiance.
The cross tells the story of one man’s utter humiliation and is a symbol of sacrificial love. So why does it stir such violent antagonism?
It is a worldwide symbol for Christians everywhere; it may seem like a symbol of death, but because Jesus took on the weight of our sin and gave us hope, it is the ultimate symbol of new life.
Displaying the cross gives a chance for people to stop and ask questions. The Jesus Fellowship has long been known for our fluorescent-style red and orange crosses, worn around our necks and also on t-shirts and flags. It’s made to stand out, to communicate a sense of Jesus’ victory over the power of death.
“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)