New York City: USNS Comfort arrives with the CROSS
March 31 2020 By Abiodun Giwa
News of the arrival of the USNS Comfort to New York City reverberated on Monday with government officials hailing the arrival as the emergence of help and hope against coronavirus. There were mentions of the naval ship as containing 1000 hospital beds, large number of doctors and nurses. But the major symbol of safety, healing and cure on the ship was not mentioned by many observers, and that is the presence of the sign of the CROSS.
"It is inspiring as USNS Comfort enters into the New York harbor coming here to safe lives," said Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City. The mayor was not wrong. And so are many New-York residents who came out in large numbers and witnessed the ship's arrival early morning on Monday. It was no surprise that the ship's arrival inspired New York's many residents who trooped out to catch a glimpse of Comfort and actually infringed on the social distancing rules and angered the mayor who threatened $500.00 fine for such infringement after that experience.
Unlike the mayor and other government officials who talked about the number of beds, doctors and nurses on the ship and capability of the hospital to positively affect medical services in the city, the appearance of the CROSS on the front, sides and rare of the ship attracted many onlookers to whom the CROSS represents a power against evil, help and hope. It is a symbol that is much known or identified with the Red Cross.Society. But the story of the CROSS goes far back to the time of crucifixion of Jesus Christ in AD 30 and 33.
The issue of the CROSS returned again in 312 long after Christ's crucifixion. Reports show that during the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in Italy when Emperor Constantine had a vision in which he said he was assured victory by the Christian God. in allusion to what he saw in his vision, the report said Constantine soldiers bore shields with the symbol of Christ and that the symbol was the CROSS. Constantine soldiers defeated the enemies. Consequently, Constantine advanced Christianity in his domain. Before the experience, Constantine was a pagan emperor whose kingdom periled Christianity.
"From Eusebius, two accounts of the battle survive. The first, shorter one in the Ecclesiastical History promotes the belief that the Christian God helped Constantine but does not mention any vision. In his later Life of Constantine, Eusebius gives a detailed account of a vision and stresses that he had heard the story from the Emperor himself. According to this version, Constantine with his army was marching (Eusebius does not specify the actual location of the event, but it clearly is not in the camp at Rome), when he looked up to the sun and saw a cross of light above it, and with it the Greek words "Εν Τούτῳ Νίκα", En toutō níka, usually translated into Latin as "in hoc signo vinces". The literal meaning of the phrase in Greek is "in this (sign), conquer" while in Latin it's "in this sign, you shall conquer"; a more free translation would be "Through this sign [you shall] conquer". At first he was unsure of the meaning of the apparition, but in the following night he had a dream in which Christ explained to him that he should use the sign against his enemies, " Wikipedia confirms.
After the battle and victory, Constantine turned round, embraced and advanced Christianity. The belief in the power of the CROSS has not dimmed. And it is the major reason that the knowledge of the power of the cross and the arrival of the USNS Comfort bearing the CROSS into New York presents hope and help, against coronavirus devastation.