Monday, November 3, 2008

The Spirit Behind the Crucifix

I have a friend who is a Protestant missionary in Bolivia. His Christian background is heavily Charismatic, and, with that background, he tends to suspect "spirits" behind events and circumstances. Although I appreciate his sensitivity to the spiritual world, something I think more Christians should be attuned to, it seems as if his focus is on the evil spiritual world. One day, he was telling me how people in that area worship the cross. He said he was curious "what spirit was behind that crucifix."

I was curious why he would think there was an evil spirit on a crucifix! I guess the real question for him and for all of my Charismatic friends is this: If an evil spirit can reside on an object, why can't the Holy Spirit also reside on an object? I think it is clear from the book of Acts that the Holy Spirit does "attach" Himself to physical objects, such as Paul's handkerchief. Can someone know that a person is worshipping a cross, or can an evil spirit attach itself to a cross and deceive someone who is calling out to our Savior who has conquered death through death - the crucifix being the very image of the cross where he disarmed the powers and authorities, triumphing over them (Col 2:15).

The cross is a holy thing. Holy things have the Holy Spirit on them. The Spirit does manifest Himself in the world giving great glory to God and affirming the reality of His kingdom. My missionary friend has never been to an Orthodox Church before. I wonder if he would relish in the abundant saturation of the Spirit of God seen in every corner and heard in every hymn, or wriggle at experiencing the Real Presence of God perhaps for the first time ever.

1 comment:

s-p said...

Good thoughts. It astounds me that people can believe demons can inhabit something like a crucifix or an icon but not consider that it may be demons deceiving THEM. hmmmm....