Header for Lent
February 25, 2009 1 Comment
The present header depicts five symbols of the Lenten season, during which Christendom focuses on Jesus’ journey to the cross and the implications of his suffering and death for humankind and all of creation. The symbols are from right to left:
- A black cross, reminding us of the cross made of ashes from previous year’s Palm Sunday palms and placed on the forehead during the Ash Wednesday worship service. It is a symbol of repentance and mortality.
- A purple crown of thorns, reminding us of what Jesus wore during his Passion, as the political and military authorities mocked, whipped and crucified him. It is purple in colour, the Lenten season’s traditional colour, representing royalty, reminding us that Jesus is a different kind of King than all other kings, and his realm is far more all-encompassing than any earthly realm.
- Nails, again in purple and reminding us that during this season we focus on the sufferings of the crucified Jesus, which he took on voluntarily, out of love for the world.
- A sword, which reminds us of the sword Peter drew according to the Fourth Gospel account of Jesus’ arrest, and in Matthew’s account Jesus warns that those who take up the sword will die by the sword. Ultimately, Jesus’ way of peace-shalom shall eventually, once and for all, put an end to war, violence and the instruments of death.
- A whip, which reminds us of the cruelty of the Roman empire and Christ’s solidarity with all people who suffered the most cruel of tortures throughout history and even to this day.
May you, gentle readers, be moved to take up some worthy discipline or cause during Lent in gratitude for what Christ has done and continues to do for you. One example is prayer and letter-writing advocacy work for brothers and sisters in Christ who are unjustly imprisoned, persecuted, tortured, raped, and killed in corrupt regimes around the globe. Your prayers and advocacy work can make a tremendous difference and save lives—just as the prayers and advocacy work of Christians did in the ancient Church.