10/21/2013 11:15:00 AM
Chances are if you’ve attended a wedding, church camp or youth rally at any time in the past three decades, you’ve sung or heard Bob Gillman’s song “Bind Us Together.” The refrain goes like this:
Bind us together, Lord, bind us together
With cords that cannot be broken.
Bind us together, Lord,
Bind us together,
Bind us together with love.
There is only one God,
There is only one King;
There is only one Body,
That is why we sing
Scripture has a lot to say about believers being bound together by covenant and in community. I certainly believe in the importance of gathering together as bodies of believers for worship, prayer and fellowship. Our church has a small-group ministry, called LifeGroups, for precisely that reason.
In that sense, the cross – the central truth of the Christian faith – binds believers together. Look around a Christian community that you are a part of the next time you are together – what are the odds that the same group of people would gather together for any other reason than a common faith in Jesus Christ? Slim, I would guess.
In my research for my new book, “The Cross: One Man...One Tree...One Friday,”
I learned about another sense in which the cross binds us together.
It turns out that one of the building blocks of life itself is in the shape of a cross:
Sometime ago cellular biologists discovered that certain types of proteins called laminins serve as a sort of structural glue or scaffolding for all the cells of an organism. These proteins are literally holding you together at this very moment. Look at a laminin protein under a microscope and you’ll see something quite remarkable. It exists in the unmistakable shape of a cross!
When I first learned this I couldn’t help but think of the astonishing, mysterious words of the Apostle Paul in Colossians 1:17. Writing of the crucified Jesus, Paul proclaimed: “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
There is a cross—in the very structural framework of life itself.
It’s easy to find information on the Internet purporting to debunk the notion that laminin is in the shape of a cross. I’ve seen claims that it actually looks more like a caduceus, a symbol of the medical profession. You can also find emphatic statements dismissing the notion that laminins look like the cross because they more normally occur as a horizontal image – so they look like a sword instead. And you can see microscopic images of laminins that don’t look like much of anything. Never mind the fact that the molecular diagrams of laminins resemble a low tau cross, and there is some evidence that Jesus died on a high tau cross, and that trees and poles were also used for crucifixion during His lifetime. And all of this is supposed to disprove that laminins are really a divine signature in the human body, or something.
Here’s what I believe: laminins are in the shape of the cross, and that’s pretty cool. They’re also part of God’s brilliant design for humanity. They are evidence of a grand design by a grand Creator. They help refute the fanciful notion we hear about in a popular TV show theme: “Our whole universe was in a hot, dense state/Then nearly 14 billion years ago expansion started. Wait!” (nice trick, considering only about 10,000 years have elapsed since Genesis 1, but never mind). And laminins are an awe-inspiring aspect of the human body whether they look like the cross that Jesus died on or not.
If you could prove to me tomorrow that laminins are not in the shape of a cross after all, it wouldn’t matter to me a bit. You can’t shake my faith by anything you say about laminins, because the God who created them, and me, can be known, and He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).
When we encounter God through the story of His Son’s sacrificial, redemptive death on Calvary’s cruel cross, He rewards us in many ways that are explained in detail in the book. No matter what you believe about laminins, they bind us together individually, just as Jesus Christ binds his Church together corporately. Our only response to His design, and His sacrifice, can be that of worship and wonder.