April 13, 2012

Holding crosses

These crosses are our gift to first-time visitors to GraceTree.

Made from rescued Tasmanian Oak floorboards, each one is made lovingly by hand by a member of our community. As mostly overeducated yet underskilled people, whose work usually involves minds rather than bodies, we have largely had to relearn working with our hands. Hence one of our queries and advices comes from the rule of St Benedict: “’When they live by the work of their hands, then they are truly monks.’ What work do you do with your hands?”

In this way, as Thomas Merton says, “The work itself becomes a prayer” – and the making of these crosses is deeply prayerful, with the person who will receive it kept prayerfully in mind.

Working with wood binds us to and helps us appreciate natural materials which have taken many years to create. In this way we learn patience, self control, and gentleness – fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5).

Many holding crosses are smooth and designed to fit comfortably in the hand. Ours have been left rough; a reminder that the life of discipleship is often difficult, as is the cross itself we are called to take up daily.

They are made in the traditional Celtic style, with an inset circle which has variously been said to represent a halo, the sun, eternity, and the neverending love of God revealed in the cross.

Whether your visit is the first and last, or the first of many, we hope to make you welcome.

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