The Irony of the Cross

You may recall in early August I shared the story of D. J. in Florida, who had sent handmade crocheted crosses to the Mennonite Church USA convention this past summer via her pastor. She had wanted to offer her “gift” in this way, and she frequently gives crosses in her church’s offering basket instead of money or a check. (See the original story here.)

I do not know if I would have had the guts those women who accompanied Jesus to the cross had.

I offered the crosses to readers, who sent me messages detailing the touching ways they planned to share them.

Michelle, a church administrative assistant, said she was excited to read about the crosses. “I just read your inspiring article about the crocheted crosses and would love one of D. J.’s, if there are any left! May your day be filled with peace.”

Carol said she loved the story about “what can you give, and the woman who crochets crosses to give away!” Carol herself is quite the crocheter and said, “Since I enjoy crocheting, I would love to receive one of the white hand-crocheted crosses. Perhaps I can be making some, also, to give away!” I like the idea of D. J. inspiring others to go and do likewise, don’t you?

For a couple of days, I didn’t receive any more requests, so I thought I would have plenty of crosses. I wanted to share one P1080184with one of my dear friends who happens to currently be in failing health. She’s in her 80s, so her illness may not be surprising. As an LPN, she had cared for numerous individuals in her own home over the years. I sent her a card, which I try to do from time to time, and in this one tucked one of the special crosses. She now has it pinned to the wall by her bedside—the same bed where she cared for her aging loved ones for many years.

Trudy said she planned to put hers in a place where she would see it often, as a reminder to pray. Not long ago I was visiting in a home and noticed in a spare bedroom that the woman had a different crocheted white cross, framed and sitting on the dresser. I wanted to know the story behind that one too—it did not come from D. J. Was it a memento of a baptism or a wedding?

Esther, from Pennsylvania, wrote for one of my free crosses and said, “I do crochet work also. I would give them as gifts if they are available.” Mona said, “I read your column all the time. I would really appreciate and enjoy one of the crocheted crosses.”

I was most moved by Fae, who asked for a cross to give to a “crippled friend in a nursing home. Her sight is going, too.” That felt sad but I hope her friend is also touched by Fae’s kindness.

Finally, yes, one gentleman wrote for a cross, saying it was a beautiful column and that he wanted one of the crosses. “I love your thoughts,” wrote George.

Of course, the irony here of a white crocheted cross does not escape me. The cross—the literal cross that was used to crucify Jesus—was neither dainty nor white nor something one would keep and cherish (remember the words of “The Old Rugged Cross” where we sing, “I will cherish the old rugged cross”?).

I do not know if I would have had the guts those women who accompanied Jesus to the cross had. I do not do well when confronted with extreme suffering and horror. I would have flinched, not been able to look. So I’m not attempting to gloss over the difficult realities the cross represents. But to be reminded of the suffering Jesus went through for me over two thousand years ago? That’s something we always need to remember.

I also think it is very special when a person finds a way to give “the widow’s mite”—from whatever is available, using the special gifts God’s given. Thanks again, D. J., for spreading your vision, gift, and Christ’s love.


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