The Red Crosses

When Grace and I visited South Korea a few years ago we were struck by the number of large red crosses that could be seen at night high above the city. We asked our host what the crosses were for. Being American, I naturally thought they had something to do with health care, like hospitals for instance. I was surprised to learn that the red crosses indicated a church.

As we walked or drove around the countryside in the evening we could see the red crosses scattered all across the landscape. It was quite a sight really and it set me to wondering why they chose to make the crosses with red lights instead of white.

The Red Cross we are familiar with began in Switzerland and the emblem came about as a reversal of the colors of the Swiss flag. Since then, it has served on ambulances and as armbands for medics.

I wondered if the Korean churches thought of the International Organization or if something else was involved. The cross of Jesus was stained with blood; maybe the churches took it one step further. Or, it could be that they were trying to incorporate the cross with the shedding of blood. The blood of Jesus, like a fountain, flows down the cross an onto the throne of God. We sing about being washed in the blood and having our sins covered in the blood.

Whatever the reason, the red crosses were hard to ignore. Shinning all over Seoul, reminding us of the lamb of God, slain for his precious blood that takes away our sins. The churches in Korea are not bashful in proclaiming Jesus and him crucified. The symbol of his shed blood is all over the city.

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