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Jennifer E. Thomas
...... .:::.:.:

It's almost like there are these periods where our relationship is smooth and steady, and then there are times when it's like standing on the edge of this gorgeous, wonderful waterfall and just letting yourself drop, knowing that there's a safe pool of water ready to catch you at bottom. You take the plunge and you're in wayyyy over your head, but oh man, it's exhilarating, it's breathtaking, it's just incredible and you feel better than you ever have before and the water is cool and refreshing and exactly what you needed.

Sam is my waterfall.

- LJ entry from 8/2005


Every Human Has Rights

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Jennifer E. Thomas [userpic]
Religion, be warned.

My church has a large, freestanding wooden cross up near the altar area. Hanging at the joining of the two beams is a crown of thorns, and just under that is a silk butterfly.

I was looking at this today, and started thinking.

As a Catholic, I had many, many crucifixes, and I loved them. I loved what they represented - Christ's sacrifice for all of mankind. I would often pray in front of the crucifix and meditate on that Great Sacrifice for long stretches of time. I understood (and still do understand) what the crucifix really was - not a remembrance of a tortuous death, but a remembrance of the ultimate love: He laid down His life for His friends.

On the other hand, the plain cross always struck me as not very inspiring at all. It seemed to be waiting for a victim. There's nothing THERE, it didn't speak to my heart. Until today.

Looking at that cross, crown, and butterfly, I was suddenly struck with the realization that that empty cross has very powerful meaning. And it took the crown of thorns and the butterfly to bring it home to me.

The crown of thorns was placed on Jesus' head just before He was hung on the cross to die, in Pilate's courtyard, where He had just been scourged and humiliated. It wasn't put on His head at Golgotha. It was before He got there.

The butterfly, because of its cocoon/metamorphosis cycle, is a symbol of the resurrection.

That cross isn't empty because it's waiting for somebody to kill.

It's empty because Christ is not longer on it. Christ is risen.

These thoughts struck me very powerfully today, and now I have a new understanding of something I was never quite clear on.

Borderline symptom of the day: contemplativecontemplative

You got it! I'm glad that now you can appreciate both symbols. We might all do well to move from one to the other occasionally.


And the mere fact that you have been moved all of these years is because of the corporeal crucifixes in the Catholic church. I don't really know of any outside of the Catholic religion who will stop at a crucifix with the contemplative look of a person who knows and understands what led up to the miraculous Resurrection. Removing the corporeal element removes a person from thinking about how God manifested as human, suffered for *us*, took on all the burdens of OUR sins, and then died in extreme pain...a pain felt by humans....a pain that God is not supposed to feel, but wanted to feel so that God would understand us.

The Resurrection is important, yes....but others before Jesus were resurrected. Christ's death and resurrection (which is how it is always referred to in Catholicism....death and resurrection) was much deeper than what had already been witnessed in the Bible and before the Bible. The Resurrection is only half of the story. The corporeal portion is there to remind us of the other half...the half that people would rather forget or not think about. That's what is lost in the plain crucifixes....

Re: hmmm....

Oooooh, a neurobabe. Where ya been hiding? :-)

Re: hmmm....

I dunno. Maybe it's just me, but the cross is a reminder to me. Not just of the sacrifice he made and the resurrection, but a reminder to take up my own cross and follow. I don't get that from a crucifix. So really, I can appreciate both for different reasons.

I think the most wonderful crucifix I have ever seen is one with Christ in full robes, smiling gently,looking as though he is about a foot in front of the cross. It was called Christ triumphant. It was beautiful, and really said it all.

You know why Christ died on the cross, don'cha?

He forgot his safe word. ;)