My son built a cross–a ten foot high, six foot wide Lenten cross and stand.  This is remarkable because he is seventeen and typical.  His room is a mess, he grunts instead of saying hello, he is far nicer to other people than he is to his mother, and only prays before meals when I’m watching.  Because he is a very private person, I really have no idea about the depth of his spiritual life.  When I bring up faith or social justice (or just about anything) I am guaranteed that he’ll take the opposing view.  Like I said, he’s a typical kid.

And yet he built that cross.  True, it was his eagle scout project and served a higher purpose than just making our liturgical minister happy, but he could have built a bench or planter box or cut a trail or any number of other eagle-worthy projects.

It is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship.  It was constructed from 100-year old redwood timbers: the floor joists of a parishioner’s remodeled home.  The heavy wood had to be hollowed out so that when we pass it above the congregation on Good Friday, we don’t crush a senior citizen.  It also had to be sanded, stained, and varnished while keeping the patina of age.  During the hollowing out stage, my son and the other young men who assisted on the project, wrote their names on the inside of the cross.  These names will never be seen, but I like to think that when the congregation prays over the cross, these boys will get a little boost of grace.

The liturgical minister asked my son and me to assist during Good Friday services.  Part of the job is passing the cross, but the other part is to prostrate ourselves before it–five minutes of full face-on the floor prostration with the deacon while the congregation watches.  I anticipated that when he found out about the prostration, he’d decline. Instead, he’s going to do it–no hesitation.  It’s amazing where you find grace.  Sometimes it is in wood and work.  Sometimes it is hidden like the names in that cross, or inside the silent heart of a teenage boy.