Something unusual and striking appeared outside our church on Sunday. Where people normally park their cars there was instead row after row of small white crosses. About 300 crosses to represent the approximately 2000 babies legally aborted in our area since abortion was legalised in South Africa. Signs hang in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa explaining the significance of the crosses – the sight compelled people to stop and look. Some are shocked, some are offended, and some are challenged. When the plan was raised some thought the crosses would be condemning those who choose abortion. But the signs do not condemn, but merely state there is an alternative to abortion – family planning and adoption – and offer counselling to those hurt by abortion and those considering their options. The little crosses represent both a unborn child not allowed to reach its full potential and a could have been mother scarred by decision – some who choose in confidence, some who chose in fear and some who chose in lack of hope – but each bearing a wound.
The little crosses do not condemn, no cross can condemn – if fact the cross is the opposite of condemnation, it is a symbol of healing and restoration. Perhaps some may look at the crosses and feel guilt and regret but the cross reminds us of Jesus bearing the punishment for all our sin. In fact Jesus, who was without sin and in a position to condemn, instead reaches out to heal and restore.
Isaiah 61:1-4 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. 4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.
God is in the business of healing the broken hearted. It is interesting that no blame is apportioned here. Sometimes hearts are broken due to our own bad choices, sometimes by the choices of others. Those in prison here are not declared falsely imprisoned. God is in the restoration business, not the blame game.
So as I park beside these rows of crosses this week I pray that those who pass by will not feel condemned by the crosses, but instead they would come to know the restoration of God who binds up the broken hearted.