Sunday, 7 September 2008

Highcross and High Crosses

I had to do the Opening Devotions for a meeting last Thursday. It was the day our new Highcross shopping centre opened in Leicester, so I thought I would mention that, and tie it in wihighcrossth The High Crosses of Ireland which I had seen whilst we were on holiday last month.

high cross




The Celtic Christians called them "Sermons in Stone" because they went up in an age when many people were unable to read - and most of those who could did not have access to many books. The pictures and carvings on the crosses showed Bible stories or symbols of faith which could be used to teach the truths of the Gospel to those passing by.

I had the devotions all planned in my head, and thought I knew what I'd be saying, until the afternoon before. That was when Betty asked my to explain the symbolism in a Passion Flower - she had planted one in her garden, it was covered with blooms and someone had told her that it had something to do with Christianity. passionflower

So I asked her to bring a flower or two to the meeting, and told them the story of Jacomo Bosio. He was the Catholic Priest in Rome, in 1609, who was presented with a Passion Flower, brought back to Italy for the first time from the New World [where the flower grows wild, by the wayside] by the Jesuits.  He looked at the flower and declared it to be God's Masterpiece - and said that the various parts of the plant symbolising the story of Easter. The story is very well documented - and the ladies at the meeting were fascinated by it.

  • The five petals and five sepals represent ten 'faithful' apostles after the arrest of Jesus; Judas was omitted for betraying Christ, and Peter for denying knowing Jesus.
  • The five stamens represent the five wounds. [hands, feet, side]
  • The lance-shaped leaves represent the spears which pierced Him;
  • The spots on the undersides represent the 30 pieces of silver paid to Judas for betraying Christ.
  • The tendrils represent the lash which scourged Jesus
  • The red stains- Christ’s blood
  • The fragrance – the perfume brought by the women
  • The fruit – the world Christ came to save

So we went from a Sermon in Stone by the road in Ireland  to a Sermon in Bloom by the Wayside in America.

Wherever you look, there is an opportunity to share the Gospel!

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