by Christine Sine
Tom and I have just returned from a trip to Mayne Island B.C. and my head is buzzing with all that I have reflected on and learned during my time away. It was a rich and fulfilling time and over the next few days I plan to share some of my reflections with you.
This year to aid my contemplation I decided to do some rock painting. Specifically I decided to paint some Celtic patterns that would focus my prayers and my thoughts. This is a creative exercise that we often offer to attendees at our Celtic retreat, but because of my involvement in the retreat programme, I rarely have time to participate.
The exercise proved to be far more powerful than I had expected. I started with the simple Celtic symbol above, drawn from one of our books on Celtic art. Then I decided to get more adventurous and paint a Celtic cross – not an easy exercise but one that I thoroughly enjoyed. The cross now sits on my desk and I continue to reflect on it and all that God is teaching me through it.
During our time away I started to add words that reflect what the cross of Christ means to me. I started with love, joy, peace and grace, but this morning added mercy, and forgiveness. I suspect that in the next few days more words will be added reflecting what the cross of Christ has meant to me.
My cross is nowhere near perfect, but as I gazed at it this morning I realized how fitting that was. After all my view of the cross, its power, its pain and its beauty is nowhere near perfect either. I keep discovering new depths of meaning and purpose in it. I keep unveiling new ways in which I need to bow before it and absorb its messages for my life and for the world in which I live.
I think that by the time I am done this stone will be crowded with words and resounding with meaning and memories. It is an exercise I would heartily recommend to you and don’t worry if the result isn’t perfect. God probably wants to keep working in your life too.
Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.
Good heavens, Christine, that IS MOST INTERESTING information ! I had always assumed (yes, “assume”… dangerous I know) that the “artistic” physical representation of Christ on the cross dated back to the time of the early church. And now, from U, I understand that it first appeared in the 10th century AD, courtesy of Charlemagne and friends. I have learned something important today. I shall not forget this, and shall quietly consider and pray about its ramifications. For one, I am glad that the Protestants (as I understand the history) came to prefer (mandate ?) the display of the “empty cross”, which is of course commonly seen in Protestant churches to this day.
If you do any more investigating of this let me know.
Thank U for your lovely and happy meditation on the meaning of The Cross to those of us who love/follow Christ. Of course, a symbol can mean different things to different people. U may be interested to know that several years ago a close Jewish friend of mind confided in me that when he saw a cross, the immediate connotation to him was negative, a symbol of repression and oppression, His comment shocked me at the time, but then my mind started to work, to consider what he said. I interpreted his remark as revealing how often those who do not profess the Christian faith have been on the receiving end of abuse (and worse) from those who called and considered themselves Christians but did not practice the loving compassion of Our Lord. It is essential that those of us who love Christ and follow His teachings reflect such teachings each day to each and every person that comes into our path. May God give us the grace to do so, to reflect the light and love of Christ in this broken, suffering world.
That is interesting – I did a book review several years ago on Saving Paradise. The authors contend that images of Christ on the cross as the central focus of Christian faith grew out of the sanctioning of war and violence as a holy pursuit. The earliest images of Christ on the cross that they found appeared in the 10th century in northern Europe and proliferated throughout the Middle Ages. What brought about this change? Brock and Parker believe that it was Charlemagne who began the trend as he spread Christianity by war and violence, subduing the Saxons and forcing them to become Christians. In fact it was in these Saxon churches that the earliest images of crucifixion are found. here is more info https://godspacelight.com/2008/08/26/it-took-jesus-a-thousand-years-to-die/