A few months ago a highly skilled chap called Gary made an oak cross for the church as a leaving present. What follows below is his interpretive explanation of what he has made, and why he made it like that. It is marvellous!!!
The cross mounted to the wall in the sanctuary at Barton Baptist Church is not one cross but three.
As you can see, the rear of the cross is polished and smooth; it is tactile and elicits a sense of calm when one strokes it. This cross represents God and heaven; it is perfect, free from the scars collected from this world. It is a significant contrast to the cross at the front.
The cross visible at the front represents our sin. It is rough, weathered and stark, it shows scars and wounds from life. This cross symbolises our life on this fallen earth; the struggles we fight with every day as a result of our sin.
The third cross is represented by the gap between the two crosses; the gap between this sinful world and the paradise awaiting us in heaven. The only way to reach heaven is through the cross; thought Jesus Christ.
You will see there are polished and smooth portions on the cross at the front – this represents where Jesus Christ was crucified as a sinless sacrifice for our sinful world. There are three polished sections, in total, representing where Jesus’ hands and feet were nailed to the cross – allowing the glory of God to break through into our sinful world.
You will notice there are three polished sections and not four. In my mind, Jesus’ head would have not touched the cross here but would have hung low. This omission represents the pain Christ would have felt as his mortal body was sacrificed to pay the price for our own sin.
“I believe the design of this cross was inspired to me by Christ and represents man’s struggles with sin, the inevitable sacrifice of Jesus and the path sinners must take to find salvation. There is no other way to reach heaven than through the cross.”
About the wood:
The cross is made from semi seasoned or (green) oak, it was cut from an oak tree in Chagford that was felled in a storm. It was sawn in a timber mill near Exeter. Being green oak, there is still some moisture in the timber – meaning it will continue to slowly split and warp throughout its life as the church building continues to dry the remaining moisture.
Oak is one of the strongest timbers available it is durable and is naturally resistant to fungal and beetle attack.
This splitting reflects the changes that occur in our own journey to the cross and, even when we reach the cross, God is still shaping and working in our lives for his glory.