St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
While visiting Australia a couple of years ago Catherinanne and attended Mass at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Brisbane. It was a beautiful church and has long remained with me. The most impressive part of the place was the use of symbols. At Eucharist they had a huge chalice. It was so impressive that no matter how far away from the later you were sitting you could see the abundance of God’s love poured out. Likewise with the host, it was gain a great image of the Body of Christ. But of all of the image there the one that has been before my eyes regularly since seeing it was the crucifix that hung over the altar. The bronze crucifix is the work of John Elliott. This image is impressive if for no other reason the quality of the art is fabulous.
There is more to this image than mere good art. In this image there is a sense of movement. If it is possible for a still image to display movement, this work does just that. In the image we can see the pain and agony of the passion and crucifixion of Jesus. In the same image we can see the triumph of Christ over the cross and death. The Artist has fashioned Jesus in such a way that He is nailed to the cross on one side of the beam and busting free on the other. This image reflects well the movement of Lent and Easter.
As a people we journey through Lent we all focus on finding ways to repent, to convert, to change, to dies unto our old ways of being. We want to take on the cross of Christ. We pray that we might seek ways to live the fullness of the Passion – that is to say that we all hope to find a way to take on our share of pain of Jesus. We seek to find ways find suffering in the world and find ways to be present to it. We confess our own participation in crucifixion. We are able to do all of this becaus eof the movement of that crucifix at St. Stephen’s Cathedral. That is to say, we can be very honest about how we can better our relationship with God and our relationships with others because we know when we look Jesus on that cross we see that he is in the process of breaking free from the cross, breaking free from bondage, breaking free from death, breaking free from the grave and moving to light, to hope, to freedom and to everlasting life and goodness. Lent is possible because of Easter. If we display faith in the Easter Story we can have an even more powerful Lent as we can move into the dryness and parchedness of the Lenten Wilderness.
Yes – we are getting closer to Good Friday – to the right side of the Cross. But we journey there boldly knowing that the cross will not win – darkness will not win.