by Rev. Susan Carter Wiggins
In spite of its function as a brutal form of execution, the cross stands at the center of our faith as a symbol of life. Saint Paul speaks of the shame of the cross, while Saint John portrays the cross as the principal sign of the glory of Christ, but both recognize that the cross is the source of life.
There can be no Easter without Good Friday, no Resurrection without the Crucifixion. Indeed, the cross, rather than the empty tomb, has held the place of honor as the primary symbol of the Christian faith.
Christian art certainly has many examples of the cross as an instrument of suffering and death, but some of the earliest depictions of the cross emphasize its life-giving qualities. The flowering cross is found in Christian art as early as the sixth century and is based on a legend that says that the cross itself burst into bloom at the moment that Jesus died. The legend of the True Cross
describes how the wood of the cross came from a tree that sprang from a seed taken from the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden.
A modern expression of this idea may be found in the custom of flowering the cross. On Easter morning, flowers are used to decorate a cross. If gardens are in bloom, bringing cut flowers from home can be a wonderful offering in honor of the risen Lord, and can also provide an opportunity for families to talk about the meaning of the cross and the resurrection.
So, on Easter Sunday, please bring flowers of any kind and place them on the cross in the church yard near the Arthur Road entry as you come in for services. Since it will be conveniently placed for access, this is a great opportunity for everyone – old, young, and in between – to participate. Let our flowering cross demonstrate the beauty of God’s creation, glorify Him, give thanks for His many blessings, and demonstrate the new life Christ’s sacrifice upon the cross has given us.