Wednesday 6 March 2013
A two-metre cross is causing a stir in New South Wales, as it’s carried across the state to observe Lent. On Sunday, twenty-two people in the town of Braidwood publicly professed faith after Anglican bishop Stuart Robinson preached beside the symbol of Christ.
The Canberra-Goulburn bishop started the Cross Walk in Eden in the state’s south. Clergy and church members in towns along the coast have taken turns to carry the 15kg pinewood cross as it makes its way towards Goulburn (Good Friday) and Canberra (Easter Sunday).
Those unable to carry the cross themselves have been happy to walk alongside. Robinson says that people’s responses have been varied and interesting. “Apart from some minor negative media coverage, there’s been a high level of interest as we walk the streets. People sound their car horns in support, or stop to engage in conversation along the way.
“Some have come forward asking just to touch the cross. People feel a vague affinity with the cross of Christ, even if they’re not sure why. Touching it is their way of saying ‘this matters to me’.
“Symbols are not efficacious in themselves, but they point to what is. In a world looking for signs and symbols, as opposed to information given in print, it’s a very powerful thing.”
The walk has also been a significant experience for those carrying the cross. “It’s a really public statement, and for many it’s taken courage to do this,” says Robinson.
“There was an older gentleman who carried the cross with me at one stage. I was worried for him, but he wouldn’t let go. He’d been a Christian in a very quiet sort of way, but on this day he made it obvious he was a believer.”
Asked what he thinks as he carries the cross, Robinson replies, “That it’s hurting my shoulder!” he says with a laugh, then continues. ”I’m thinking that the gospel message is powerful, and that the cross is a poignant reminder to many about that.”
“Our walks always end with a public meeting and evangelistic message. To date, several hundred people have accepted Christ, or made recommitments.”
At dawn on Easter Sunday, Robinson will share the last message of his Cross Walk, on the shores of Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin. “It’s very symbolic, this preaching in a very public place in the nation’s capital… preaching about a Christ who is risen, ruling and returning.”
Caption, top photo: Dean Richardson carries the cross through Bateman’s Bay
For details on the Cross Walk, click here.