Last week, in preparation for Palm Sunday, the Diocese of Oxford gave us a range of resources. We could make our own palm crosses, or we could download a colouring sheet of a cross. After several attempts to bend a daffodil leaf into a palm cross, I realised that this was not for me and so, somewhat reluctantly, decided to colour in Cross 2 from the Diocesan downloads.
I had not anticipated what a spiritual exercise this would be. It was my first attempt at colouring in since primary school. As I chose the colours for the cross at the centre of the picture, I found myself thinking about the meaning of the cross. I chose two liturgical colours, purple for penitence and gold for resurrection. The cross represents both our brokenness and Christ’s acceptance of us as he takes our sins upon himself. Passion and forgiveness are at the heart of the cross. The resurrection is already there in the depths of the cross.
As I applied red, purple and black to the diagonals and circle around the cross, I was reminded of the saints and martyrs, of the reality of suffering, evil and death embodied in the cross. However, the resurrection could not be shut out. Gold threads permeated, surrounded and sprung out from the cross and led our gaze outwards and upwards to the blue skies, the fertile meadows and to the brightness of creation.
Jesus’ cross is for all people and all times. The gold strands of resurrection spring from the centre of the cross and reach everyone, everywhere. The diocesan colouring sheet had gaps at the periphery. I let the gold colour escape through them. For me, the gaps in the frame symbolised the hope that Easter brings to the whole world and to the future, even in these times of pandemic, isolation, anxiety and fear.
God is leading us through the cross to resurrection – a new hope that is beyond all that we can imagine.