Posted tagged ‘wooden cross’

Bringing The Cross Back Inside

April 10, 2014

WORDS FROM W.W.                                              April 10, 2014

 

                                 

 

Our church has a great sense of humor…usually! Actually, most churches have a great sense of humor…you just may have to dig a little deeper to find it!

Years ago we had a couple of people from our congregation construct a wooden cross and a stand that it could be propped up in. It was heavy…and, forgive the term, a bit on the ugly side. Of course, it is difficult to make a cross look good, I don;t care how many Easter lilies you place around it!

The wood of this cross was rough and rigid. It was the kind of wood that takes the pounding of nails easily without stumbling. In the past few years we’ve moved it up the aisle and back to the rear of the sanctuary. Back and forth it has gone like a person without a home.

At Christmas it has crouched in the back corner so that the attention can be more focused on the fifteen foot Christmas tree in the front and a homemade livestock stall with a rustic wooden crib in the midst of it.

At Thanksgiving it disappears to make room for turkeys and canned goods.

But on Good Friday it trudges back to the front in order to have a dark piece of fabric draped over it and a handful of nails driven deep into its strength. Its meaning and significance has never waned, and yet we’ve never felt totally comfortable with its look of abandonment and sorrow either.

This past September we moved it outside. It has stood behind a fenced area behind out sanctuary, kind of like an oversized first-grader hovering over his classmates in the school picture. It’s been standing there through storms and excessive windblown snow.

Come Saturday, however, it is being moved back inside. We jest about it with statements like “It’s time to bring the cross back in” and “I think the cross has been grounded long enough. Let’s unground it!”

We say it with the lean towards humor, but, on the other hand, the cross makes us antsy and uncertain. Give us a manger scene with a dressed-up plastic baby doll laying in it and we’re fine, but a cross of wood is a remembrance for us of all the bad things God endured because of his love for us. It’s a reminder of our tendency to be wayward people of faith who sometimes are brought back to the reality of our fallible decisions.

This year, however, a number of people in our congregation are asking for the cross. It’s been the forgotten symbol long enough. On Palm Sunday it will be back at the front of the sanctuary. To temper the celebration of the palms it will silently stand at a distance in the foreground…alone…bare…reminding!

I think it will be a good thing to have it there without fabric or flowers to partially cover its frame. I hope we can even keep it inside for a while.

Moving the Cross Outside

December 5, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                     December 4, 2013

 

                                  

 

In our decorating of the sanctuary for the Advent season we needed to move some things around. There needed to be space for a place where Christmas cookies and coffee urns were available, and a few Christmas trees that were promoting the theme of our children’s Christmas program.

In the back of our sanctuary there is a eight foot tall heavy wooden cross that has it’s own handcrafted stand. We use it during the season of Lent and move it to the front of the sanctuary. For those who are wondering, there is another cross mounted on the wall at the front of the chancel area.

So this year we moved the cross outside. It is propped up beside a utility shed, looking lonely and forgotten as we celebrate the birth of the Christ-child.

The symbolism of the events has not gone unnoticed by me, although our congregation does not think the cross is an irrelevant relic.

I do, however, believe that we would rather push the Cross of Christ to the side because it makes us too uncomfortable. If you read the history of crucifixions you will discover how brutal they were. The Romans of Jesus‘ day were known for their brutality.

I feel more at peace when I look at a manger surrounded by hay and farm animals than I do with an execution scene complete with the gambling of the executioners to win the robe of one of those men who is hanging above them.

As followers of Jesus we must understand that “the way” goes through the Cross.