A few years ago I was thinking of creating a piece of jewelry that shows my faith. The natural first thought was to create a cross but somehow I was not so convinced. The cross reminds us of death, of pain and suffering and I was thinking of something more optimistic.

Did you know that the very first symbol for Christianity was actually a fish? Very early Christians used it as a secret symbol for their faith. It reminded early Christians of the miracle where Jesus had multiplied fish. In addition, Peter was a fisherman and Jesus had asked him to “fish for people” instead, meaning converting human souls. Back in the Roman times when Christians were still persecuted, they chose the simple fish symbol made of two simple arches that was easy to draw and erase in the dust. When Christians met, one drew one arch which did not expose anything and could also have been coincidence. However, when the other completed it with the opposing arch resulting in a fish symbol, they knew they were in good company. 

fish symbol
The simple fish symbol used by early Christians

As another symbol, I was thinking of was a triangle with an eye in it. It is supposed to represent God somehow, however I am not so attracted to it. I was also thinking of inventing something new to depict the resurrection of Jesus, but that is not that easy without showing Jesus in full. Just a fire, a lot of light or an empty grave does not make for such a nice jewelry piece… 

The more I searched, the more insecure I became, as many symbols can be linked to the life of Jesus. For example Jesus can be connected to the thorn Crown, the bread that he multiplied as well or water that he used to baptize with. The more I researched, the more insecure I became about all other symbols and the more I came back to my first thought – the cross. 

A huge benefit of the cross is that it is established as the main symbol of Christianity for centuries. If I put a cross on, everyone else understands what I mean and that is part of why I want to carry a Christian jewelry piece. On top of that, when looking at the cross more closely I started to realize that I could view the horizontal axis as being a connection between heaven and earth and the vertical one as being inclusive and loving all creatures on earth. 

The cross also symbolizes sacrifice and it does not refer only to the suffering of Jesus but also to human suffering in general and God’s grace to ease it and help us. Jesus tells us the following about the cross:

If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

Matthew 16:24-25

In my view, Jesus tells us with this that when we take-up our own cross and accept suffering in our life, if we sacrifice ourselves as he did for us, we will live. So I decided that for me, the cross is the best symbol for Christianity and that reflects my faith well. I therefore now proudly wear a cross around my neck. 

By the way, a few years later I also bought the silver cross designed by Paloma Picasso for Tiffany. At that cross, both the vertical and horizontal axes show as a heart. As God is love, I think this is the most genius display of the cross as a symbol for Jesus.