No photograph compares to standing on the floor of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, looking up at the sun-filled rose window. Those gothic churches were built to invoke majesty and awe, a small taste of the glory of the One it was fashioned for. Not only in ornamentation and height, but the floor plan, laid in the shape of the cross, recalled for the worshipper the object of our faith.
In his book, Cruciform: Living the Cross-Shaped Life, author Jimmy Davis takes the intention and design of these old church buildings and makes it an analogy for the life that we are called to live as those who have been purchased by Christ. With pointed autobiographical illustrations and practical suggestions, Davis tells the old, old story of the saving work of Christ as the reason, motivation, and ability we have to live such a life. As we fix our eyes upward on the object of our faith and spread our arms out to those around us, we form a picture of the cross and thereby become living symbols testifying to the power and majesty of Christ.
One point of confusion for me was the use of the term “you-first.” Davis uses the term in reflection of being taught to turn to others and suggest, “Please, you first.” It took a conscious effort not to read it in the sense of Davis challenging me to put myself first. It also may have been an excellent compliment to the book to talk in terms of how we are shaped by the cross, which then enables us to live a cross-shaped life.
With solid theology, Davis reminds us that we are not to live a sacrificial life in order to please God. Rather he rightly challenges us to live a cruciform (cross-shaped) life for God’s glory and for his good pleasure. An excellent read for people who want to learn how to serve God and are looking for ways to take that first step.
Review solicited by the author.