I wonder how many of us find it a little strange that there are those of us who worship in front of an instrument of torture and death. The cross has not always been the symbol of freedom and redemption that many Christians now see it as. It was after all, a gruesome torture device reserved for criminals and enemies of the state. It was one of the worst possible ways one could die. It offered a death probably as painful as the one later favored by Christians of being burned at the stake as punishment for questioning the churches interpretation of scripture.
There are ancient dusty books with long philosophical threads of thought attempting to prove the cross is an actual metaphysical doorway into a more real world than this one. The cross is not unique to Christianity and the symbol in a simpler form + existed long before Christianity borrowed its meaning. However Christianity is the one faith that worships it as both torture stake and doorway.
If Jesus had appeared and been executed later in human history, we likely would be worshiping before a very different symbol. If say, Jesus had been beheaded by a guillotine, we would all be genuflecting in front of a guillotine. If he had been electrocuted in the electric chair, we would be genuflecting in front of a chair. If he had been hung by his neck until dead, we would be on our knees before a rope. If he had been executed by firing squad we could be kneeling before an AK 47 and some magic bullets.
Of course we would have written long philosophical explanations about the cosmic significance and meaning of chairs, electricity, ropes, knives, or perhaps even the cosmic significance of the holy guns and bullets. One has to wonder if there is any real cosmic significance for any of our most revered symbols. We are a very curious species indeed. - Chris Waller