The "Christ is Risen" cross that hangs above the altar at All Saints Episcopal Church in Parma, Ohio is a wonderful expression of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. While it is apparent that Jesus did at one time hang there, sacrificing his life for ours, he is no longer there, no longer suffering. He is risen.
The white marble of the cross shouts it out.
A video was recorded in 1989 by Cox Cable Network for a local television series on area churches. The All Saints episode was about how the arts contribute to worship here. The Rev. Tom Schirmer, then Rector of the parish, was featured, talking about music and art and drama and how they enhance worship in the Episcopal Church. He interviewed the creator of the cross, sculptor Robert Bliss, who was at the time a recent graduate of The Cleveland Institute of Art.
Bliss pointed out that the light from the window shines through the white marble, making it appear translucent at times, like Christ's own light to the world, and that the harsh steel of the supports appear at the points of his pain: at his hands, his feet, and the crown of thorns placed on his head. He said the outside edges of the stone were left rough like the outside world, but the inner edges, which outline the form of Jesus, are smooth and polished and beautiful like Christ's inner self.
Bliss explained that the shadows, made by the lights in the room reflecting on the side walls, were not planned but turned out to be a moving feature of the design.
The Christ is Risen cross is included in an international book of church art called A Treasury of Anglican Art published by Rizzoli of New York. In the chapter entitled "Stone" is the picture of the altar with the Christ is Risen cross above it. The book's caption likens the shadows on the wall to the crosses of the thieves crucified with Jesus.
Regardless of your interpretation of what you see, this work of art continues to move those who visit All Saints.
At a recent gathering of parish leaders from around the Diocese, which took place at All Saints, many witnessed the cross for the first time and spoke of its power. One said it had held his gaze for a long time. All at once, Christ emerged from it as if to him personally.
We invite all who come here to gaze too, and to be fed by this art treasure. It has been left for us by others who appreciated the human need to nourish our senses as we worship him who suffered, died, and rose again for us.