The Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, shares this reflection in advance of Palm Sunday:
Over the course of my ministry I have been given a number of crosses. I still cherish the Celtic cross given at my consecration as a bishop in 1995. Like many other bishops around the world, I also have a Canterbury Cross. It’s a sign of our common life and witness to Christ throughout the Anglican Communion.
I sometimes wear a simple wooden cross handcrafted by a priest of the Diocese of Central Newfoundland. I have been humbled to receive a couple of beautiful beaded crosses made by Indigenous women. During a visit to the Solomon Islands last year I was gifted with a tortoise shell cross in-laid with mother of pearl.
I cherish every one of these crosses but in Holy Week I wear none of them. Instead I run a piece of burlap string through a fresh branch of palm that has been tied in the shape of a cross. It has a sweet scent but within a short time it dries out and gets twisted. As that happens I am reminded of those moments when far from singing “Hosanna to our King”, I am distancing myself from Jesus. In a twisted way I reject him and betray his love. I deny him and his call in my life and daily work. Confessing my need for redemption I turn with a penitent thief and pray, “Lord, remember me…in your mercy remember me.”
At the end of the liturgy for Good Friday I lay aside this cross of twisted palm knowing it and many others will be burned for the imposition of ashes at the beginning of another Lent.
For the Great Vigil of Easter I choose one of the more ornate crosses in my modest collection. As I place it round my neck the words of an anthem of The Early Church come to mind.
“We glory in your cross, O Lord
and praise and glorify your holy resurrection,
for by your cross joy has come to the world.”
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