Artist Jeremy Rudd delivered our new processional crucifix yesterday before 10:30 Mass. You can access last week’s post here, including the post-homily blessing. We have a gallery of images from the liturgy as well as of the cross on our parish website.
The project was a challenge. The processional piece needed to fit into the parish’s great cross, yet be in harmony with the overall design. Jeremy made four trips from eastern Iowa, meeting with the committee, taking measurements, and refining the design. It was an extremely rewarding process for all concerned. To solicit parishioner input we had a special liturgy, “At The Foot Of The Cross” to get people praying and reflecting on the meaning of Christ on the cross.
The committee sifted through the written and spoken reflections at this liturgy, and did some art history study ourselves. We wanted to avoid an I-like-this-art and I-dislike-this-art approach and focus as much as we could on the spiritual aspects of crucifix art. By the time we interviewed our three candidates, we had a “mission statement,” if you will, for them to work into their proposals.
We had determined we wanted a depiction of the suffering Christ, but we wanted to avoid something gruesome. It was intentional to have the Lord looking to heaven, the moment of Psalm 22 being quoted, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” I liked how it turned out that the focus for a liturgical piece like this is on the Father, and not necessarily the Son looking at his companions at the foot of the cross.
Two neat aspects. First, the crown of thorns becomes a halo from the perspective of the viewer. And second, note if you can, the gesture of blessing with Jesus’ right hand. We have an Eastern Orthodox gentleman who worships with us, and he noticed this immediately.
The only snarl in the day was that our video camera ran out of storage space before his post-liturgy talk was done. I have the first twenty-five minutes, and I may post it on YouTube later this week. Jeremy talked more about the personal and practical process of the commission. He was complimentary to the committee and to his work with us. We are very, very pleased.