Do you have a cross on your wall.....or on your refrigerator.... or in a frame? Perhaps there is some other visual reminder you keep in sight - a faith reminder that holds the memory of a special event or time of life when you recall a closeness to God. Many of us have examples of "visual faith" in our homes whether we realize it or not.
The following is a personal story from our friend Christine Wethman. She shares how a simple, quite temporary homemade cross made an impact in her faith life. Because of this, crosses have become a precious reminder of significant times in her faith journey - and of the faithfulness of an Abiding Savior. These memories have motivated her to create crosses with old jewelry and other found items. You can also read her story and be inspired by more of her "found art crosses" on her new website (which she is currently working to finalize):
“Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.”
Smack dab in the middle of the cinderblock wall of the gymnasium was a very, very tall cross. It had been handcrafted with love by one of the school’s art teachers who had a passion for stained glass. That’s why the black paper cross, with strategically placed red mosaic-like cutouts, looked eye-pleasing. Sharply contrasted against the stark white wall, it was a sight for sore eyes. My eyes faced that cross countless times.
The congregation was worshiping in the gymnasium as its new sanctuary was being built. For over a year, chairs were set up and taken down weekly. The makeshift altar was put up, along with all the typical altar items – candles, communion ware, paraments, and altar cross. The altar cross seemed so tiny compared to the one on the wall. Your eyes were immediately drawn to it upon entering the gym. It loomed large.
The most poignant memories of gym worship stem from the season of Lent. Every midweek evening service ended the same way. Same hymn. Same verses. Same floodlight shining brightly on that cross, slowly dimming as each verse was sung. To my daughters, this was a sign that we could go home. As for me, I was focused on the cross, tears in my eyes, silently singing the words of the hymn. “Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes…"
That larger-than-life paper cross will forever be a visual reminder of my faith. I believe
that over the years, the words of that hymn have – without knowing it – inspired me to
create my share of crosses. Some are refrigerator magnets, while others are freestanding,
wall hanging, or mounted in a frame. Every time someone visits my home,
they ask about them. I explain how I got started painting and decorating them with old
costume jewelry I inherited from my mother. Her eyes will never see them.
I’ve managed to amass a large selection of these hand-made crosses. Some are rugged,
not aligned perfectly. Others are symmetrical with complementary colors. Gold-like
chains encircle them, silver chains transverse them. The number of discarded trinkets I
rescued from flea markets far outnumber the shiny, new, store-bought gems and pearls.
The first crosses I made look crude to me now when compared to my newest
masterpieces. Bottom line is though, they are all crosses lovingly created and equally
loved. Most of them are on a wall across from my bed. And each night, they are a
beautiful sight to my weary eyes as I go to sleep.
"Shine through the gloom and point me
to the skies. Oh, Lord, in life and death abide with me. Amen."
Recently, Connie Denninger spoke with Chris on the phone, who related the story of