The cross is the symbol for Christianity and the focus of Easter traditions. How many crosses have I seen in my life? Maybe thousands? A few are quite memorable.
|My church on Easter 2013|
|My childhood Lutheran church|
Picture taken in May 2010
when I last attended a service
The cross in my childhood church in Illinois was a large, but plain centerpiece of the sanctuary. It was a traditional Lutheran church, so one might expect this. As a child, I remember being very fearful that one day, the cross might fall. Of course, it never has.
|Easter Flowering of the Cross|
|At the Youth Gathering in Denver|
Summer of 1985
One of my most memorable experiences of a cross was nearly 28 years ago. The youth group of my childhood church in Illinois traveled to a huge youth gathering in Denver. All week there was great music, inspiring services (including a mass communion), and guest speakers (including former president, Jimmy Carter, which I did not appreciate at the time). Although I don't remember any details, there was a big box that sat in the center stage during the entire skit on the last day of the gathering. At the end, the performers opened the box and up floated this huge, silky cross. I might not remember much from the skit, or the messages I heard throughout the week, but I remember the feeling I had when that cross lifted up out of that box.
|Cross at the Crossroads|
Pictures taken on our trip "home"
for Christmas 2009
Another memorable cross is the one we drive by on Interstate 57 in Effingham, IL. It is enormous, standing 198 feet tall in the middle of the prairie of southern Illinois. In all the trips we've made past it, we have never stopped to visit. But, what a glorious reminder there for all to see!
My father began painting nearly 20 years ago. He paints all sorts of things - abstracts and landscapes in an array of styles. Each one has a title, an inspiration, and always a deeper meaning than what you see. They also often reflect a passage or message from the Bible. Although his paintings are quite good, some stick out in my mind more than others.
|"We All Have Our Own Cross to Bear"|
I think of this painting often. The title is so true. We all have burdens, things that challenge us. And how appropriate that my father's painting shows that burden, but also shows that we are not alone. Someone else is helping us carry our cross.
Is Brielle the cross I must bear? Maybe. There are certainly days I feel like it. Other days, I see her as a reflection of the cross itself.
What makes a particular cross memorable? Something dramatic? Something big? Something personal?
As I consider my most memorable crosses, I cannot help but to think of the original cross. It is more than a memory. More than a symbol of my faith. More than a promise. It is the center of all I am.