At Synod there was a cross on the stage where we gathered together to worship, to celebrate, and to do the business of the church. Approximately two feet by three feet, this cross was made of wood. Having a wooden cross is not unusual, but the characteristics of this particular cross were unique.
This cross is composed of many pieces of wood. They are of various sizes and colors, including hues from light tan to deep brown. These pieces of wood are attached in a seemingly random matter that enlarges and emboldens the simple cross they encase.
This expanded cross is a visual analogy of the 30th Synod where approximately 4,000 of us gathered together. We gathered before the cross to do the collective work to which we had been individually called. As individuals we represented a spectrum of ages, sizes, shapes and skin colors. Each of us differently abled now brought together by one commonality – the United Church of Christ.
Closer inspection revealed more detail. When standing within feet of the cross it can be seen that some of the composite pieces are themselves small crosses. They occur here and there among the rectangular pieces.
For me these small crosses symbolize the individuals who during discussion of resolutions stepped to a microphone and shared a personal experience of spiritual, mental, emotional, or physical suffering, as well as fears and hopes for the future.
I thank God that each had the courage to share in such a public forum. They not only informed me, their actions reminded me that none of us can learn of the challenges another person faces unless a safe place is provided for such personal sharing. It is only with such shared knowledge we can truly work together in unity.
Recognizing the little crosses within the components of the larger cross deepened my appreciation that this was the cross before us for all of Synod. It created an exemplar of the blessings provided when we come together and the grace provided in surprising ways in “Unexpected Places”, the theme of the 30th Synod of the UCC.
Peggy Matteson is a first time delegate to Synod
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