Why Do Episcopalians Cross Themselves?
Every religious denomination in the world has their customs and practices, which are unique and exclusively theirs. Some, because of too much exclusivity and uniqueness might appear weird and ridiculous for outsiders. This is actually one of the reasons why religious-based discriminations occur.
Episcopalians, for example, make the sign of the cross on themselves several times during a church service. Crossing is an ancient Christian gesture of touching one’s forehead, heart, right and left shoulders like making an imitation of the cross. They do this to start and end a prayer. They also make the sign of the cross upon entrance to the place of worship, or even when they are just passing by. This is just a simple gesture of respect and self-submission.
When parents would teach their children to do the sign of the cross, they would tell them the same story. They would tell them that through making the sign of the cross, they are asking the almighty fill their heads, their hearts, and their whole being with his presence. It is a way of asking the Lord to take over their thoughts, their feelings, and all their physical activities.
Furthermore, when one makes the sign of the cross, they also express their recollection of Jesus’ great deed of giving up his self for the salvation of humankind. It is their way of fulfilling their promise of remembering, celebrating and believing. Lastly, it is also their way of expressing their belief on the holy trinity. As observed, they utter the phrase, ‘In the name of the father, and of the son, and of the holy spirit,¦,
For some, making the sign of the cross is a sin as it is not found in the bible. Well, all religious sects have something bad to say about the other. So we really won’t know who is telling the truth.
March 21, 2013 12:34 pm
I beg your pardon, but are you speaking for all Episcopalians? This is a high church practice. There are many, many Episcopalians who do not cross themselves, ever. And you’re mistaken in the way it is done- one touches the forehead, heart (or breast), LEFT shoulder, and right shoulder (not right shoulder then left shoulder, that is an Orthodox practice).
October 20, 2014 3:59 pm
I think you have missed the point entirely. The practice of of crossing oneself is completely voluntary and is appropriate behavior in ALL Episcopal churches. And so are so many other elements of liturgy, even the Eucharist. E.g., you are not compelled to partake in communion. Rather, it is hoped that when you are INVITED to communion, that you partake in it. We Episcopalians informally refer to the level of liturgy in our churches as either “high” church, “broad” church, or “low” church … even colloquially “snake belly low” church. Whichever church you voluntarily chose to participate in is entirely your choice. But the act of crossing yourself in ANY Episcopal church is entirely acceptable behavior.