Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day in another season of Lent. This banner will hang in our sanctuary tonight as begin our Lent together with an evensong service, Marty Haugen’s Holden Evening Prayer, and it will remained displayed throughout the season.
I very much like the artistry of the banner: the twisting, sharp-edged, thorny strands winding around and overlapping the cross; the cross itself placed starkly and simply in the foreground; and the path, the path receding into the distance at the upper right corner of the banner.
It speaks of pain and of suffering, the cross and thorny strands draw the eye first. And the cross stands at the head of the path. You cannot take the path without going through the cross!
But the path does not end at the cross. The cross stands at its beginning. You must go through the cross, you must pass through suffering, but the path leads somewhere else, to the place of hope, to the place of life, to the place where the One who hung from the cross now is, a place not yet seen, but surely promised!