An afternoon symposium
Gordon Lathrop: The Cross in the Scriptures and Sacraments
Gail Ramshaw: The Cross in the Lectionary and Hymnody
Felicity Harley-McGowan: The Cross in Early Christian Art
Martin Jean, introducer and moderator
In his 2014 Kavanagh Lecture entitled “Saving Images”, Gordon Lathrop proposed that
one basic purpose of Christian worship is to hold us before and in such Biblical images as they do their work, leading us again to faith in God and causing us to see the world and our neighbors in new ways … images that can do their work in refiguring God and the assembly and the world when they are set out in clarity in our prayer and song and proclamation, images that can re-describe what Christian worship is, images that can draw us again to faith and begin to heal us. They belong in the texts and actions of our common prayer—and also sometimes wonderfully splashed up upon the walls of our meeting rooms. Both in text and on the wall such saved and saving biblical images can be deepening and even transforming to the purpose of our meetings.
This public event attempts to explore one such image — the cross — in Bible, liturgy, and art, for the purpose of opening up the worship of our communities and exploring the power of images in general.
Especially since the 12th century’s substitutionary theory of atonement, the Christian cross has come to symbolize solely Christ’s extreme suffering for the sake of sinful humankind. But there is more in the tradition than misery. A conversation at the ISM will discuss the wider biblical, liturgical, and artistic use of the cross, towards an enriched spirituality in the 21st century.