It’s Semana Santa (Holy Week) and there are more than the usual number of crosses in Latin America. Crosses are not my favorite religious symbol – they represent a complicated history and varied theologies. But since they are everywhere this week, I thought I would look for the unusual ones, the less obvious ones, and let them speak to me. Here are nine of the crosses I saw this week.
PHOTO ABOVE: These are Crosses made of talavera, a type of ceramic work that was brought to Mexico by the Spanish colonizers. These Crosses in a craft market illustrate the beautiful artistic expression and faith that was able to emerge from a devastating period of conquest, colonialism, and imposed religion.
A Cross on the side of a house in the village of San Andres Tzicuilan, Puebla, Mexico. The simplicity of this cross on the side of an adobe house speaks to me of the reach of God to the most isolated, humble, and “forgotten” corners of the world.
Crosses on the border wall between the USA and Mexico that symbolize the deaths of migrants, of God’s children, attempting to find a better life for their families in an unequal and divided world. (Photo from the MCC Washington Memo)
Candles lit before a small metal cross suggest the personal, intimate quality of the Cross and the belief that God hears and responds to each individual prayer.
An indigenous Nahua couple packing up the goods they have been selling on the sidewalk in Cuetzalan, Puebla, Mexico. The juxtaposition of the modern technology (internet cafe), indigenous culture, and the Cross points to the transcendence of the message of the Cross through time and place.
A display of crosses representing innocent people killed or disappeared in the Mexican “War on Drugs” in front of the Municipal offices in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Again, crosses are used to represent the loss of life, lives that are sacred to God.
A Cross set aside until it is needed in the Catholic church in the village of Yohualican, Mexico. I wonder if we sometimes set the message of the Cross aside until we need to bring it out for another year’s celebration.
Crosses made in the traditional artistic style from El Salvador, beautifully represent the joy and community of the message of the Cross; a message of God’s Shalom for everyone.
Small Crosses on the tops of the old and new Basilicas of the Virgin of Guadeloupe, Mexico City – overlooking the millions of people who live, work, struggle, and put their hope and faith in the Jesus resurrected from the Cross.