Do a New Thing
I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
A crucifix, from Latin cruci fixus meaning one fixed to a cross, is an image of Jesus on the cross.
Crucifixes don’t hang in our church. In Italy they are everywhere. I might have anticipated this before arriving in Tuscany, but I didn’t. All those crucifixes in Italy took me by surprise. I felt theologically out of place.
The image of Jesus hanging on the cross is not a sight I have embraced. I am more comforted by the empty cross that symbolizes the hope offered when God’s love and power prevails, so I was theologically challenged in Italy. But I like a good challenge. During our visit there, I spent a lot of time looking at crucifixes.
In Tuscany, Dave and I visited Le Celle (The Cell). Le Celle is a Franciscan hermitage, and it is a place where St. Frances went to retreat and pray. There is a small, simple chapel there, where a crucifix hangs. While I was alone in the chapel, I was drawn in by the image of Jesus on the cross. It is hard to fully explain what happened as I sat there, but simply put I experienced the reconciling nature of Jesus on the cross: a melding of the holy and the profane.
This new awareness was unexpected and powerful. The meaning of this event continues to unfold within me, and I draw closer to the image of Jesus on the cross with curiosity and gratitude.
When we open ourselves to new things, even things that are foreign and uncomfortable, we never know what will happen. Thank God for that!
Prayer: God of delight and surprises, help us move beyond our preconceived ideas and fears. Lead us out of our comforts into the depths of your mystery. Stretch us and make us new again and again. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.