The Crucifix


I stayed at a Catholic retreat center for an Ignatian Spirituality Silence/Prayer retreat.  I had a small dorm room.  There was a single bed, desk, night stand, and chair.  Very simple furnishings.  Only two things were on the wall:  a mirror and a crucifix.

Fundamentalism doesn’t always see the value in symbols or nuances, so in my youth I was taught that any image of the Cross as jewelry or art was sinful because of the 10 Commandments/”no graven image” thing.  But that’s for another time.  The point is that I don’t have any on my walls at home or church.

The crucifix was a metal figurine of Jesus attached to a cross of wood.  The metal “Jesus” was actually attached by three small nails.

The wooden cross could have been cut by a person or a machine, maybe a person using a saw is most likely.  The figurine was most definitely from a mold.

But those 3 nails.

I kept wondering about who had the job of nailing a metal Jesus to a cross.  Often you see a crucifix that has been carved or is from a mold and it’s one piece, but this one required a human to take a hammer and nails…

I wonder how many he/she has made.  Was it a one-time art project?  Does the person work in a factory and do this multiple times each day?  Is it creepy and/or emotional each time?

Or maybe it has become common place and rote…like it has for most of us…

February 19th, 2013
Lynwood Retreat Center
Rhinebeck, NY


3 thoughts on “The Crucifix

  1. Alan Garner

    I was with a co-worker at a national conference a couple years ago. We were attending a reception at a hospital. They had food in several rooms and were giving tours. We walked into their conference room and there was a cross on the wall. My friend, who is Catholic, said, “I thought this was a Catholic hospital.” I told him that I thought it was. He responded, “Well, the empty cross doesn’t make sense. Catholics have kept Christ nailed to the cross, You Protestants have the cross after He was taken down.” Hadn’t thought of that contrast before.

  2. that’s interesting. in one sense, Jesus on the cross reminds us of his suffering, but the empty cross is kinda like the empty tomb, reminder of Victory and the end of suffering

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