Saturday, 23 April 2011

The Cross
The cross, I said to my congregation, is a paradox symbol of human despair and hope. The cross of Christ holds together in creative tension the distress and aspirations of the human soul, the dreams and failures, heaven and hell, life and death. To understand the real meaning of the cross we need to engage with this paradox of the cross.

Distress and hope are part of our human experience, shared by other fellow travellers in all times and places. Both are part of our life, journey, story and conversation with God. The experience of despair and hope is real in our life, as it is bestowed in the cross. Jesus invited us to carry our cross, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Jesus’ invitation is to embrace the cross that will bind us together with the distress and hope of humanity: the solidarity of the cross.

The Salvadorian cross that depicts scenes of everyday community life is a creative and clever way to raise awareness that our whole life, distress and hopes, are part of God’s economy in the cross. In the cross we hear our own cry, “Father why have you forsaken me?”
We hear the cry of the poor of the earth, “Father why have you forsaken us?”
In the cross we come together, we are bound together. In the cross we also hear whispers of new beginnings, the promises of a new tomorrow...possibilities.

After this brief introduction I gave to each person in the congregation a sheet of paper printed with the shape of a cross, an empty cross. Then I invited them to write inside the cross a word or to draw a picture of places, people or situations where they felt there is despair and distress. This could be their own, from others or both.

In reverent silence they did just that. Then I invited them do the same again but this time they would have to write or draw a picture of all the things they hope to see changing in themselves and the world.

In reverent silence they did just that. Then I told them that these things they have drawn or written in the cross are the things that matters to them, the things they feel passionate about, these are the things that make up the people they are.

“This is your cross”, I said. Then I invited them to write their names on the cross.
We spent some time in silence and stillness, meditating on our cross and in what we had done.

At the end some folded the cross and took it with them, others took my invitation: “During the music,” I said, “you are invited if, you wish, to place your cross at the altar in our basket of prayers.” And, in reverent silence, and solidarity, some laid their own cross for blessing, for humankind, for hope.

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