Very near the beginning of her groundbreaking book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy states, “Whatever materializes worship hinders man’s spiritual growth and keeps him from demonstrating his power over error” (pp. 4–5). Materialized worship can include portraying physical objects as having spiritual influence and power.
Is what a cross symbolizes empowered by its shape or the materials it consists of? Clearly not. Jesus’ sacrifice and victory aren’t in the wood or metal making up a cross you may hold in your hands; his victory was and is in the unchallenged, brilliant omnipotence of his Father, God, that he demonstrated in his healing works and in the resurrection.
I’ve thought about how it would have felt at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. What would I have been feeling, if I were a witness there that day, when seeing Jesus’ body taken down from that cross? Might I have been overcome with grief?