Strange Symbols of Freedom

On 26thJuly 2018 pioneering aviator Mary Ellis passed away at her home on the Isle of Wight at the age of 101.  Speaking on her 100thbirthday she declared that of the many different types of planes she had flown during the Second World War, the Spitfire was her favourite.  She said, ‘I love it, I think it’s a symbol of freedom.’


That’s an interesting way to describe a weapon of war, designed to destroy an enemy.  While its use would result in freedom for some, it was inevitable that others would lose theirs.  It’s a reminder that freedom can be won or lost and that sometimes it must be fought for at great cost.


For 2,000 years the cross, a reminder of a cruel and barbaric form of Roman execution, has for Christians been the ultimate symbol of freedom. It is so, because like the Spitfire, it reminds us of what was achieved – the defeat of an enemy that had come to steal, kill and destroy.  But also like the Spitfire the cross of Jesus reminds us that if we want liberation we must choose to stand behind that which will set us free.  Like stepping into the cockpit and flying to war Jesus invites us to ‘Take up our cross and follow him.’

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