Friday, February 24, 2012

February 24, 2012

I’m a proud Protestant. I realize there are many different denominations that may or may not use that name as an "umbrella" term, but I’m referring to the first faiths of the Reformation, the Lutheran faith in particular. I stand in awe of the sacrifices our ancestors underwent just to practice their beliefs. I admire the men and women who were martyred for their faith, who dared to be different, who went without basic necessities rather than conform.

In my first post I wanted to give a shout-out to a group of people I really admire. I am daily inspired by the courage and faith of the French Huguenots who adhered to another of the "Reformation faiths," that of Calvinism. The Huguenots rarely had an "easy" existence. From their beginning in the 1530s or so to their "exile" from French society in the 1680s and beyond, they were persecuted, demeaned, and belittled. First they died a civil death. Then, in many cases, a literal one.

The Huguenots are shining examples of the Protestant heritage, men and women who would never give in. They held firm to the principle that salvation was "by grace, through faith," and they are known just as much in death as they were in life. This next photo is of my favorite piece of religious jewelry.

A symbol of enduring faith and persecution

Last Christmas I received a Huguenot cross. It is indeed a stunning symbol of spiritual pride and a nod to the religious heritage and traditions that my ancestors so proudly upheld. The Huguenot cross is more than just a pretty and unique cross, however. Each part has a meaning. The cross in the center represents Christ’s sacrifice. The points at the ends of each section add up to eight for the Eight Beatitudes. The four fleur de lis represent the four Gospels and are also a nod to the French heritage of those persecuted. The three tips on each of the fleur de lis add up to twelve and represent the Twelve Apostles. The dove has long been a popular symbol of the Holy Spirit.

I feel blessed to wear my Huguenot cross. It reminds me of my Protestant forebears’ sacrifice, and it gives me the courage to be strong in my faith.

(c) 2012 Joyously Saved

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