Monday, July 4, 2011
An Unusual Place
As I stood in line, I saw it up ahead. It was a cross. Actually, it was a tattoo. Inked on her back just below the place where neck meets shoulders, it seemed like such an unlikely place to see a cross. It immediately made me think of Parker, one of Flannery O'Connor's characters in the short story, Parker's Back. I remembered why Parker had his tattoo of the head of Christ on his back. I wondered why this woman wanted a cross on her back. Was it a way to witness to those behind her? Was it her way of identifying herself as a cross bearing Christian, or was it a whim? Why would someone permanently put a cross on their body in a place which they could not see? I could have asked, but somehow, it did not seem like appropriate conversation with a total stranger.
So, I just wondered. Still do. And, I wonder, too, why we wear the cross in the way we do. While I never wore any "cross jewelry," many folks do. However, when I wear a clergy robe, I sometimes wear a stole adorned with a cross. As I reflect, I am made aware that we often wear the cross without really thinking about what it means and why we wear it. Like a cross necklace, maybe it was just about my "Sunday outfit." I know the cross is on the robe and on the stole, but I really do not give much thought to it.
O'Connor's character put the tattoo on his back because of a burning bush kind of experience. Maybe the woman had the cross inked on her back for the same reason. However, too many likely wear or see the cross without giving it any real thought. One thing is certain when we read the Scripture. God gave it a great deal of thought.