Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Does God Wear a Cross?

This theological question comes from the Rev. Tay Moss of Church of the Messiah in the heart of Toronto. His congregation just saw the completion an amazing mural project in a children's chapel that turned this wall:

Into this:

It's their artist's conception of a way to interpret medieval art like the Sistine Chapel into a child-friendly space. The one above is the Kingdom of God in Heaven. The opposite wall shows the Kingdom of God on Earth:

More photos of the wonderful space are online here: The mural is finished.

So, now for the theological question. The artist showed God the Father as an old man with white hair and a beard. Then she wondered if he would wear a cross. As Tay wrote,
Susy (the artist) and I are discussing whether this is good or not. She says in "feels right" because she always imagines God and the cross together. Others have suggested that for humans the cross is a symbol of hope but for God is a symbol of suffering. It's a deep question, theologically: what is God's relationship to the cross?
They decided in favor of the cross and so God the father now looks as pictured here. I think there is a theological problem in picturing God the Father or God the Holy Spirit at all, as the Father is not an old man with a beard and the Holy Spirit is not a dove. But when looking at such a wonderful transformation of a space for kids by means of an ambitious art project, I hate to split hairs. But if I were to wax theological on the close up, I would say that having the cross on the neck of God the Father shows the father's love for all of us in a way that seems quite appropriate. What do y'all think?

The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor



  • At 9/18/2008 6:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The old white man with a beard is the old standard, but just reinforces the negative aspects of referring to God as "Father". That works if you had a perfect father, but none of us have and really bad father's are out there too. The cross seems fine. The bearded guy wearing it doesn't seem like the best way to picture God. Maybe the ten commandments were right to speak against "graven images".

  • At 9/18/2008 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Our FATHER, who art in heaven...??????" Right?

    I like the cross on the children's mural of God. It gets the connection across to the youngsters.

  • At 9/20/2008 8:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    A concrete image of a man ("Our father, who art in heaven....") is probably well suited for children -- a concrete image. As they grow older, they'll understand. It is sad that not everyone had a loving father as a child, but God named himself. As children, we didn't have the opportunity to choose our fathers, but as Christians, we can.


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