This morning I will be dedicating a new sculpture as part of a Back to Church Sunday/ Church Anniversary Service. It is a cross that is filled with symbolism, you can read more about it on the artists blog; The New Ragged Cross. I really like the sculpture, the way that it shows the life of the area it will be set in and that as a cross it continues to challenge us with the creativity and passion of a God who turned an instrument of torture into a symbol for hope.
People recognise the cross, and it evokes various reactions from them. Recently two of the Journey Into Wholeness Stalls I helped to set up had different experiences with folk reacting to the crosses they used as a part of their displays. One group were using a metal sculpture, a welded piece by a local artist, visitors to the stall found it harsh and hard, feeling that it spoke of death rather than offered life. The second group used a cross made from reeds and woven with ivy, and this too dre strong reactions from folk. One of the other stall holders asked if we minded if she meditated upon the cross, saying that she drew great energies from it...
We wear crosses around our necks and in our ears, tattoosof crosses are amongst the most popular designs. We place them in churches and on waysides, often folk with have a cross somewhere in their homes, and all of this is done without to much thought. They have become for many of us familiar, and even comfortable symbols, but they shouldn't be. Like the crosses at the two Journey Into Wholeness Stalls they should provoke strong reactions from us. The New Ragged Cross is sited in a hall used by the community. I hope that it will speak powerfully to folk, and that it might challenge us again to consider the message of hope that it represents...
Here is my dedication prayer:
Loving God, we gather to dedicate this cross,
This New Ragged Cross to this space and this time…
May it speak to those who look upon it in new, life-giving, and challenging ways,
May we find surprises within it; as it speaks to us,
Echoing life’s joys and delights
Life’s realities, struggles and pains…
Lord we thank you for the way that you transformed an instrument of torture into a symbol of hope.
May it remind us that the path to resurrection was not easy,
But for love of the world you traveled it anyway.
And so we dedicate this cross,
and with it ourselves to your ways.
Im Jesus name, and for the sake of your kingdom revealed amongst us