There have been a number of questions, concerns and offers made about the cross (crucifix) seen on the screen during the streaming services. Also, many of you have seen the cross with Jesus (crucifix) at the Pray.Think.Love House. You have most likely noticed that the left arm of Jesus is missing.
This is the story of how Jesus lost his arm.
First, a little on why we have a cross with Jesus on it. A cross with Jesus on it is called a crucifix. Most Episcopal churches have at least one crucifix. It is usually the cross carried during services at the opening and closing processions. Other processional crosses may be simpler and without a Jesus figure.
Now, why Jesus has a missing left arm. First of all, it is not lost. Father Joseph has it in his office. After leaving our church building at 233 South State Street, we made several stops before buying the PTL House. One of the stops was at Central College Presbyterian Church here in Westerville. They were kind enough to let us use their beautiful Chapel Building on their campus on Sunbury Road. We worshipped there for about a year, using it for our 10:30am service. They used the Chapel for their 8:00 service. While we were there, we used only one of our processional cross, the Crucifix. Now, Presbyterians have very simple worship spaces. They usually do not use images of Jesus. Their altar guild, in keeping with simpler Presbyterian principles, was a bit confused by the cross with Jesus on it. It seemed very Catholic to them, I guess.
We stored the cross at the back of the sanctuary between services. Though it was out of the way, it could be seen. One Sunday morning, as we were setting up for service, we noticed that Jesus was position wrongly on the cross and one arm was missing. The image was repositioned, but we could not find the missing arm. We continued to use the broken cross (crucifix).
A few weeks later our setup team was cleaning up after service. One of us, while putting on his jacket, found the broken off arm in a jacket pocket.
We decide to have it replaced. A repairer was located and an appointment made. Father Joseph, while discussing the plan, suggested that perhaps we should not reattach the arm. It could serve as a message to us that St. Matthew’s, without a fixed worship space, was still functioning. The image of Jesus on the cross without an arm still tells His story.
So, will we ever reattach the arm? That is a question that may be answered one of these days.