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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Reflections on a Crooked Cross

I was shopping the other day for a friend. It’s Christmas and I thought, since he has so many kinds of crosses to wear, that I would get him a new one. A different one. I went to a Pastor/Priest supply store. One that carries their outer garments, symbolic of their inner garments I suppose. Anyway, the salesman showed me several varieties. Some were plain, some were engraved with carvings of religious symbols. Some were crucifixes and even among them were depictions of exquisite agonies of the Lord or sublime serenity—he obviously knowing something we don’t. There were modern kinds, where the basic symbol of the cross was somewhat distorted and you weren’t really sure if this was a cross at all, but some amorphous blob of metal that a surrealist wanted you to believe was a cross. I didn’t but any of them. I left puzzled. I walked around the mall for a while after that and thought about what I had seen. The cross is a powerful image to me. For any Christian I imagine. Beside all that historical stuff, we know that the cross means saving to us. I never liked the crosses that I see so many times that are so perfectly straight and precise. My faith isn’t like that. But a cross that depicts the winding way of my belief isn’t true for me either. For the cross symbolizes the underpinnings of my life. I don’t like following something if I’m not sure where it goes. The cross always has the vertical with the horizontal crosspiece. I wanted to find a cross that showed that-- but differently, like my faith.

I actually did find the one I was looking for. The artist that fashioned it, pulled the metal somehow to make it appear beveled, but not even that. Guided somehow off the straight. It’s difficult to describe, but this cross spoke to me as a Christian. I am not always straight and true. My paths are usually pretty much along the straight and narrow. But life has a way of bringing along those not oh-so-straight bends and turns. And although my faith is true, like the cross of which I speak, it also bends and is slightly off. A true metaphor for my faith life. We are not all believers in the same way. There are nuances to our faith, shadings, shadows, life has molded us in ways that are unique to each individual. But the cross is behind all that believe, engraved, carved, or plain showing us that “God always comes down”, no matter what the shaped or size of the chain of life experiences we wear. So I bought the cross for him. I think he’ll like it. I wrote this down because even though I don’t own this cross, it will make me think of my faith every time I think of it. It is a cross of my faith, crooked, yet straight.