Anglican Church of Canada
Lenten Reflection: The Cross and What It Means to Me
A great deal of thought has been given to this reflection. What was I going to reflect upon regarding the cross? What does the cross mean to me? What on earth would I ever be able to say on Wednesday? My first thought was to borrow something from the internet (giving credit where credit was due, citing my sources, mind you),but I could not find anything suitable – suitable to my tastes, anyway. This being the season of Lent, everything seemed to be pointing towards the crucifixion (this wonderful rendering of the St. Francis cross being but one example). Lent can be and perhaps is supposed to be a depressing time; if not depressing, then definitely thought-provoking, even disturbing. I have always found the entire story of Jesus’ crucifixion to be most heart-rending, touching and troubling, but loathe the glorification of blood and death and the notion of our being washed in blood in order to be cleansed from our sins.
Easter is about Christ rising from the dead – the risen Lord. But to really appreciate and benefit from Easter, I suppose I have to endure Lent.
That started me thinking about the risen Christ and a gift I had received from my mother for the first Sunday I was a lay reader. It was a risen Christ crucifix (a resurrectifix according to some). The only reason it was not a traditional crucifix was because the Diocesan Book Room had sold out of crucifixes and the sales person had told her how much nicer these were. I am unsure as to how doctrinally sound the risen Christ on a cross is as opposed to the crucified Christ, but I prefer to focus more on the risen and alive Christ than the suffering, dying and dead Christ. For me, Christ alive is the whole point of my faith. I always like to wear that cross for Easter. Perhaps I should wear it more often.
I was still wondering what I could say about the cross – what did the cross mean to me – why was the cross important to me? At that point, I examined my collection of crosses. Why did I have so many (over 40, at last count, not counting the various palm ones tucked behind pictures). I’m not a fan of jewellery, yet I have pendants, pins, a bracelet and a ring. I even have a terra cotta wall cross all the way from Mexico. There are Connemara marble crosses (souvenirs from my sister), handmade crosses made by artisans, Celtic crosses, bling from accessory stores, crosses found in parking lots, even a cross made of wampum.
So what about all the crosses? The cross must indeed mean something to me, but what? Defiance, devotion, piety? Having so many of one thing – anything – must prove how important it is to me. So, what do all these crosses mean to me? All these crosses or just one cross, mean the presence of Jesus: his life, his love and his inspiration in my life and the lives of those around me.
I do not view the cross as a symbol of death and defeat, but a symbol, a sign of Jesus’ life, resurrection and ongoing presence in my life. The cross helps me to remember that Jesus is always with me and God is all around me. In the words of my favorite psalm, Psalm 139
Where can I go then from your Spirit? * where can I flee from your presence?
If I climb up to heaven, you are there; * if I make the grave my bed, you are there also.
If I take the wings of the morning * and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there your hand will lead me * and your right hand hold me fast.
Wherever I may be, I am never alone and the cross – especially the wearing of one helps to remind me of that.
— Sheila Hulford