The Cross of Christ.....truly overcomes the world, and leads a life of purity in the face of its allurements.... they receive power from Christ their Captain, to resist the evil, and do that which is good in the sight of God; to despise the world, and love its reproach above its praise; and not only not to offend others, but love those that offend them....True godliness don't turn men out of the world, but enables them to live better in it, and excites their endeavor to mend it.
For Penn, the Cross is a liberating experience. It empowers us to do God's will with the courage of a soldier. It frees us from worrying about what other people think of us. It is not an object for mere contemplation; rather, it excites our desire to end oppression and suffering in the world.
Throughout its history, Quakerism has produced men and women who have indeed lived under the Cross. They risked and sacrificed much in order to make this world a better place. They devoted themselves to their families and to those in need. They ministered to members of their meetings. They visited prisoners, fed the hungry, protested war and injustice. They experienced and shared the liberating power that comes from selfless service.
Are we willing to take up our Cross, as did early Friends, and make sacrifices and take risks for the sake of our beliefs? Without acknowledging the Cross and its teaching, we may forget that genocide and oppression and other social ills begin in our own hearts, and must be confronted there on a daily basis. We may ignore the fact that people like Jesus and George Fox "stirred up God's good trouble," and that we are called to take similar risks. Without the Cross, religion can become a tranquilizer, a pain-killer, or a sleeping-pill. The Cross is a wake-up call from God, rousing us from the troubled sleep of apathy into a new day of social commitment and love.