Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 17, 2003
Crafted cross symbolizes Jesus Christ's love for us
By FR. LARRY PEDERSON
Special to the WCR
The processional cross symbolizes the all-consuming love of Jesus Christ for the will of the Father and his love for us.
The figure of Jesus seen at the right was carved out of bass wood by Ken Manning who is well known for his religious wood carving: In Daysland the Christ is the dead Jesus on the cross, in Heisler the Risen Christ and in Killam the dying Jesus on the cross.
The design of the cross and the stained glass work in Killam were crafted by myself and parishioners helped construct the cross.
The cross itself is made from purple heart wood from Central America. The wood is suffused with oil and if a hole is drilled into the purple heart wood and it heats up, it drips droplets of purple oil, representative of the blood shed on the cross by Jesus. The wood is flared out at each end, showing the cross of Jesus Christ is victorious and ends in glory.
The stained glass used in the circles is antique clear texture iridescent granite glass. The circle of glass on the left arm of the cross represents the table fellowship and the blessed Bread we eat. On the other side, it represents the top of the chalice from which we receive the blood of Christ. The top circle of stained glass represents the top of the bowl used for foot washing at the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on the first day of the Easter Triduum.
These three circles are the eyeglasses through which we see clearly the meaning of the cross. Like the earliest disciples, we must remember the supper when we think about the cross.
We cannot fully understand the cross if we do not understand both the meal and the foot washing. The meal is a memorial of Jesus laying down his life on the cross. It is a living sacrifice. In Communion, we share in the body and blood of Christ.
The foot washing is a revelation in action at the meal of the Last Supper. The action of the washing of the feet portrays Jesus giving his life for others. This action directs us to what Jesus did on the cross.
Our actions of giving our lives for others unite us with Jesus giving his very life on the cross.
This action of washing of feet highlights the cross and its memorial, the Eucharist, as an expression of the love of God and Christ for us and the bond of charity that is to exist between Christians. This bond will help the world believe in Jesus and that he was truly sent by the Father.
The stained glass glistens at certain angles and this shows Jesus made the cross glorious, triumphant, and victorious as beautifully portrayed in the Passion of John's Gospel.
This is the true Christian tradition of the cross. It is not a symbol of death, but life and blessing for us, and brings us back to God.