On Sunday in worship, we looked at pictures of crosses. Last week I drove around our neighborhood and took pictures of crosses. Some were on churches. One was on a car window. One was a tattoo. I included a picture of the Normandy cemetery with white crosses in straight rows. One picture was of a cross hanging in a tent in Haiti after the hurricane. Another cross was made of ashes and appeared on the forehead of a mother in Parkland, Florida after last week’s shooting.
After worship, several people stopped and told me stories about the crosses they were wearing around their necks. The stories were beautiful, stories of crosses designed in memory of loved ones, crosses that had been given on special occasions, crosses that held special meaning. One person shared that she had arrived in a small town for a special event. She knew it would be held in a church, but she didn’t know where the church was. She just looked up, looked for a cross, and used that to guide her to the location.
This is all pretty ironic. We see crosses today as symbols of hope, community, and sacrifice. The original cross that Jesus faced was a means of execution. How did the cross undergo such transformation? And if an ugly thing like the cross can be redeemed, what does that mean for the world?
We all live under the transforming power of the cross. There is nowhere we can go that is not within the shadow of the powerful event that happened on the cross.
Today at 11 am a memorial service will be held at McLaren’s Funeral home for Alma Selindh. Alma died last week at the age of 94. She had no immediate family and at 94 for she had outlived many of her peers. She had friends, many of them church friends. In fact, one of her church friends planned her memorial service. Another family from the church has visited her regularly for more than ten years.
We will gather and pray and read scriptures and celebrate her life. Some of us there may not have known her at all. But we know this. She, like us, lived in the shadow of the cross. Something happened at that first Easter event. The redeeming work of God.
So today we will gather and celebrate her life and her resurrection. You are invited. You may not have known Alma, but you know the cross and the Christ who has redeemed us all.
I bet if we look around today, we will see a cross or two. A continual reminder that God is with us, that God is at work in us, that through us, the redeeming work of God continues.
Blessings to you this day,
Pastor Cindy Hickman
West Des Moines United Methodist Church
720 Grand Avenue
West Des Moines, IA 50265
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See you Sunday!