Mount Pleasant Church

The Sunday school students had been asked to fashion crosses for the Sunday leading up to Easter. I foraged in our farmyard until I found two straight-ish sticks which I then wound together with a thin vine. After all, I was attempting to be authentic, and I didn’t know if rope had been invented in Jesus’ day.

Sunday I stood with a quaking heart at the altar beside a handful of children with equally shabby crosses of various sizes. Some were tied together with string, others were nailed in the center with a single nail. But one stood apart–literally. Jim’s cross was a foot and a half high wooden sculpture, complete with a footrest for Christ and a platform so it could stand alone. It had been sanded, stained a deep walnut, and varnished. I was in awe.

Then the pastor took each cross and asked questions about them. “Did you find your own sticks?” He put each cross along the altar rail. Then he came to Jim who acknowledged that his father had helped make the cross. “Do you think that they sanded the wood for Jesus’ cross? Did he have a foot rest?” the minister asked Jim, whose face fell as he whispered “No.” I hurt for Jim. His cross had obviously taken far more effort and dedication than mine.

Afterwards, the adults gossiped about Jim’s father’s gall in helping his son show up the rest of us using his “fancy woodworking tools” and “expensive wood.” Rumors of excessive spending were confirmed. Jim and his father never came back to Mount Pleasant Church.

Personally, I hope wherever Jim and his father worshiped, the minister and congregation were respectful of efforts to honor Christ the Lord in any way that they saw fit. Easter is no time for fomenting class divisions. Easter is the perfect time to acknowledge the different ways to honor Jesus from the praise of the thief on the cross to the tomb and fine linen for burial provided by the wealthy Joseph of Arimathea.

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