Monday, April 02, 2012

Christ's Death, the end of brokenness

The Lutheran University Center sits on a well-trafficked street, and I pondered how I might engage passers-by during Holy week. After prayer and conversation with trusted friends and colleagues, I decided to build a cross with nails sticking out with a sign upon the top that read:
Christ's death on the cross promises an end to the brokenness of the world. What brokenness do you want to see put to death?

Then I mounted a box with some paper and a marker so people could put down their thoughts and prayers... jabs and snarky jokes as well...

I had no idea how people would respond. I sat and observed people's reactions. Some glance at it as they walk by. I noticed two people stop and discuss it.  Some people in cell phone conversations slow their walk as they pass, clearly pondering it in the midst of their discussion. Some never lift their eyes from the sidewalk. But I hoped that leaving people free to comment or not would free some people to do so. As I pulled into the center this morning, I was not disappointed. Several pieces of paper clung to each nail. Some are meant to be funny... some are serious... one has some drawing on it that I can only guess at what it means.

The one that had me most intrigued was the one that read "People who flaunt their religion in my face." Is that me? Or is it someone else this person knows? I had hoped that with this cross, I would give people freedom to respond or not and if this person meant me, I wonder what compelled him or her to attach this comment. I cannot tell. I do know that in God's Reign, the flaunting of religion will end. I pray for the day when our faith and display of it will be genuinely lived out, and in the meantime I pray that Christians are more aware of the witness they provide to the Crucified one.

I am interested to see how the comments will continue over this week. They will form much of my prayer life as we enter into the days of God's saving mystery that promises to end the brokenness of the world?

What brokenness do you want to see put to death?


sell my house said...
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shelwee said...

Hi, I'm the Lutheran campus pastor at Eastern Washington University. I'm curious how your cross and nails continued to work. Did you get any more "hits"? Somehow I found your site as I was poking around the internet. Thanks for your observations. Hope to see you at Yale in June. Shelley Bryan Wee

Brian Bennett said...


Thanks for writing. I received comments all through Holy Week. They were in three general types. Attempts at humor, anti-religion, and in the spirit of the question asked. The third type increased as the week rolled on.

I won't be in New Haven this June. My family and I will have just (hopefully) completed a move and we will all need some time adjusting to our new surroundings.

I look forward to meeting you at some other time... maybe next year.