We often try experiments around here. I learned a long time ago that if you call something an experiment, you are free to fail. And when you are free to fail, you allow yourself to risk. And when you allow yourself to risk, you allow yourself to trust upon God for bigger things than you yourself can muster. So we did another experiment.
With the great gift and new friendship with St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, they allowed us to come in and make ourselves at home in their beautiful sacred space. What we hoped would take place did. Our hope was that we would gather together, from all different stories, backgrounds, faith journeys and traditions, around our commonality, Him, who is Jesus.
We engaged in a collective of perspectives of those in our own community. It was very simply, just that. It was not a theatrical presentation, or entertainment, nor a sermon. We had an eclectic, colorful range of thoughts from that of a college aged woman to that of a priest to that of a baptist preacher to that of a husband and a wife and even a published author. They each have their own stories of suicide and cancer and abuse and stories with roads back to God, victories won and freedom found. Each one different. But we didn’t hear their stories, but we knew their stories were woven into their wonder at the cross. We asked a myriad of voices to contemplate the cross from the perspective of a character who was actually present at the crucifixion. People in our community presently reading their perspectives as if they were those present on that historical day and moment.
The word Kaleidoscope is defined as: an instrument containing loose bits of colored material between two flat plates and two plane mirrors so placed that changes of position of the bits of material are reflected in an endless variety of patterns.
In the same way that you can look through a Kaleidoscope and turn it to see different colors and angles, centering around the cross and viewing it from many angles allowed those present to contemplate and reflect upon their own perspective of Christ on the cross, seeing Him with new eyes and fresh thought provoking each one of us.
C.S. Lewis, in The Four Loves said: “God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them. He creates the universe, already foreseeing – or should we say “seeing”? there are no tenses in God – the buzzing cloud of flies about the cross, the flayed back pressed against the uneven stake, the nails driven through the mesial nerves, the repeated incipient suffocation as the body droops, the repeated torture of back and arms as it is time after time, for breath’s sake, hitched up. If I may dare the biological image, God is a “host” who deliberately creates His own parasites; causes us to be that we may exploit and “take advantage of” Him. Herein is love. This is the diagram of Love Himself, the inventor of all loves.”
Lewis when looking upon the cross found love.
The prophet Isaiah in chapter 53, says we find healing in Christ’s wounds inflicted upon the cross.
Thomas à Kempis said “In the Cross is salvation; in the Cross is life; in the Cross is protection against our enemies; in the Cross is infusion of heavenly sweetness; in the Cross is strength of mind; in the Cross is joy of spirit; in the Cross is excellence of virtue; in the Cross is perfection of holiness. There is no salvation of soul, nor hope of eternal life, save in the Cross.”
Kempis says over and over again “in the cross” describing what He finds.
There is so much to be found in the cross as you survey it. As you turn it’s cylinder and let light in, the colors reflect hope and freedom, love and redemption. Perhaps that is why Paul who collided with Jesus and was forever changed said in 1 Corinthians 2:2: For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
Every one of these characters present at the crucifixion viewed a moment that changed and altered history forever, but not just history. This wounded collision had to have changed and altered them, personally. Each one of these people had religious affiliation or religious baggage. Each one had wounds and sin that had marred their lives and they saw, that brokenness, up, on that tree. Each one had hopes and dreams and hopelessness and plans astray. Each one had fears and worry and faith in something and doubt in another. Each one had to have watched the crucifixion and come away with a perspective that left them seeing God and self and man differently. This view they had must have changed their position or their angle, their bend or their posture, their understanding or their assurance. If there is one thing I know about the cross, it is that it forever beckons us into our own perspective of Him who lie there.
This was a beautiful, ecumenical, thought provoking experiment.
Follow along our blog everyday until Easter, to allow the light to come in and see the cross with new eyes….