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James Cone Speaks at the Love Your Neighbors Worship

by Youngsook C Kang
April 30, 2012

James Cone gave a powerful message on “the Cross and the Lynching Tree” at the “Love Your Neighbors” worship service held at David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts at twelve o’clock noon, on Sunday, April 29, 2012. He opened his talk by saying, “The cross comes before the resurrection. Today may be your cross, but, tomorrow you’ll be resurrected.”

Cone talked about the interconnection between the two symbols – the cross and the lynching tree based upon the passage from Acts 10:39 -“They put him to death by hanging him on a tree.”

As expressed in his book titled “The Cross and the Lynching Tree, Cone’s message is theologically powerful. “While the lynching tree symbolized white power and black death, the cross symbolizes divine power and black life God overcoming the power of sin and death. For African Americans, the image of Jesus, hung on a tree to die, powerfully grounded their faith that God was with them, even in the suffering of the lynching era.” (From The Cross and the Lynching Tree)

So, listen to this hopeful message. Renowned and respected theologian James Cone said, “The cross is a paradoxical religious symbol. But, suffering and death do not have the last word. The cross of Christ is God’s unique expression of power. The cross is about love.”

Cone ended his message with these words, “If I speak for those who are marginalized and for those who do not have the opportunity of getting sunlight, then, I am on the right track.”