There is some debate about the history of this style of cross. Some call it a Lorraine cross. One interpretation of its symbolism is that the two bars are a reminder that Christ died for both the Jews (the descendants of Abraham) and the Gentiles (everyone else).
This cross is not seen frequently, perhaps due to two different uses throughout history. In some traditions, this kind of cross is reserved for high-ranking religious authorities. This designation limits its use, making it more rare. Others have drawn connections between this cross and the Crusades. Such an association with religious warfare may dissuade frequent use.
Nonetheless, the Patriarchal Cross can sometimes be found as a standing cross or a processional cross. It may also appear in art as a designation of authority for various figures.
Read Romans 3.27-31. According to this passage, is God considered to be the Lord of the Jews or the Lord of the Gentiles?
Consider the phrase "We hold that a person is justified by faith." In your mind, who would be included in "we" or "us?" On the other hand, who would fit into the category of "them?" Is this division one of your own making? What would it take for "them" to become "us?"
Read I Corinthians 1.18-28. For whom is the message of the cross difficult to receive? For whom is it a stumbling block? For whom is it foolishness? For whom is it wisdom?
Due in part to the associations listed above, the Patriarchal cross does not lend itself to preaching as easily as others. Nonetheless, the notion of Christ as savior regardless of race makes this cross a powerful symbol when preaching about social justice or evangelism, or when encouraging people to connect with others who are different from them.
This symbol could easily work into ordinary time, when preaching about the day-to-day experience of faith and life in community. It could also work in occasions of bringing diverse groups together.l