Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Cross of Nails: Symbol of Reconciliation

Throughout the years, there have been many different artistic interpretations of the Christian symbol of The Cross.  When the present St. James The Fisherman Episcopal Church (In Islamorada) was built, a local artist was contracted by Fr. Ralph Johnson and asked to create an interpretation of The Cross Of Nails, that would adorn the church’s sanctuary.  Fr. Ralph had taken a trip to England, and was apparently very impressed by this specific Cross that adorns the sanctuary of Coventry Cathedral.  Without getting into much detail, during World War II, Coventry Cathedral was bombed and completely destroyed.  Prior to its reconstruction, a decision was made to make a commitment not to seek revenge, but to strive for forgiveness and reconciliation with those responsible for the destruction.   During the BBC radio broadcast from the Cathedral ruins on Christmas Day 1940 the Provost of Coventry Cathedral , Dick Howard, declared “that when the war was over we should work with those who had been enemies to build a kinder, more Christ-like world.”  The words “Father Forgive” were inscribed on the wall of the ruined chancel and two charred beams which had fallen in the shape of a cross were bound and placed on an altar of the rubble.  Three medieval nails were formed into a cross, and The Cross of Nails quickly became a potent sign of friendship and hope in the post war years. 

RECONCILIATION…. Something that is so needed, and so often neglected.  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary presents two poignant understandings of the word reconciliation.  One is that reconciliation is the restoration of friendly relations.  Another seems to go a little further and states that reconciliation is the action of making one view or belief compatible with another.  Is any of that possible? I believe so, and apparently many others do also.  This desire for being a beacon of reconciliation has led members of St. James the Fisherman Church to open their hearts and Sacred Space to people of different faiths so that perhaps we can understand one another better and grow in the true love that we are all God’s children. The people of Coventry Cathedral believed this, and out of their vision grew the concept of COMMUNITIES OF THE CROSS OF NAILS.    

If you have interest in learning what is a COMMUNITY OF THE CROSS OF NAILS , we invite you to St. James The Fisherman Episcopal Church on Wednesday, June 15th at 6:00PM.  Rev. Kerby Avedovech (Pastor of Coral Isles United Church of Christ) will be making a presentation on the significance of Coventry Cathedral, The Cross of Nails, and this concept of Covenanted Communities of Reconciliation .  Please consider joining us to learn more about this vision, and to share your visions that can lead to deeper and richer reconciliation  within ourselves, our community and our world.

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