An older piece I wrote to address those who find the crossing of one’s self to be horrific and unacceptable for Protestants
Refutation of two Anti-Crossers
The first adversary is one that screams “Rome!” in a very loud, high-pitched, and slightly annoying voice as they sprint in the other direction. The best time to approach these types is when they have not yet seen you cross yourself and are completely unsuspecting of any Romish tendencies that they might later perceive. I would recommend at this time that you calmly approach the subject, subtly saying that crossing one’s self is indeed very Catholic, but in no way Roman (this comment may take a bit of explanation, which you must be prepared for).
The second adversary is one of a Gnostic tendency, specifically the kind that think crossing is highly “liturgical”, and liturgical means structure, and structure means a severely decreased leading of the Spirit. On the first point, they are absolutely right, on the second, even more correct, and I still haven’t quite nailed down what the third accusation really means in their mind, but I sometimes wonder if it could be related to that heartburn from Saturday-night pizza that hits during the third praise song…. I gently ask them to read the Old Testament and get back to me (encouraging them to consider that it is the same Spirit in both the Old and New Testaments). Upon our next meeting I ask them as tactfully as possible how they see the leading of the Spirit in their church. The response consistently seems to boil down to emotions, a popular example being: “I felt led to raise my hands.” If they go there, I light up like with excitement and exclaim that, “I feel led to cross myself, and when I do, so does everyone else in the congregation! We must be really unified in the Spirit!”
Blessed are the peacemakers.
I enjoy the physical/spiritual integration (for lack of a better word… agh) that kneeling and crossing oneself lends. Often in the church culture I was raised in (and still am in I suppose) we tend to divorce the physical from the spiritual. The whole “it’s not what you do, it’s your soul” thing. But that’s just really inhuman… and Gnostic. I am a soul within a body and there is a certain, well, fulfillment in using one’s body and soul in prayer. But I have not yet had the courage to cross myself after prayer in youth group. 😀