It came from a “big old spreading maple,” and now Shorehaven chapel’s new cross is bringing new meaning to those who view it.
Shorehaven commissioned John Lindsay of Oconomowoc’s “Art in Wood” to create the new piece. Lindsay’s family members had spent their last days on the campus, and the wood artist said he was honored to accept the new challenge. “When the project came to me, I had many emotions, memories, and ideas. I felt inspired and fulfilled when it was all coming together.”
Attaching a blue acrylic backing to the maple carving, Lindsay said he stood back and smiled at the finished piece. “I wanted to make staff and residents look at the cross as if they’ve never really looked at it before. I wanted it to move them, to feel its presence and comfort.”
Chaplain Nick Slater described what the cross symbolizes to him.
The blue base of the cross reminds us of the baptismal waters offered to us through Christ’s work on the cross. As Christians, we are baptized into both Christ’s death and resurrection. We are washed clean and called and sent forth in renewal. It is at the base of the cross in which we as the body of Christ, are reminded of Christ’s death, as well as the death brought about by our own shortcomings. But it is also at the base of the cross where we are washed clean, given a new life in Christ, and sent forth to live as God’s beloved children through the living water of God.
The three individual cross pieces recall the Trinity; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each piece is separate, symbolizing the unique work of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Yet, together the three distinct cross pieces form one larger whole representing the unity of God. The movement in the cross pieces reminds us that God is not stagnate. God is with us in the valleys, in the peaks, and especially in the spaces in between. Similarly, it reminds us that God is the God of the past, the present, and the future.
Slater noted, “ A lot of folks are curious about what Lindsay’s cross is supposed to mean. I think through his piece, the artist reminds me that the cross, and Christ’s work through the cross, is always something that transcends individual understanding or logic. It needs to be rooted in emotion and experience. John’s work invites us to connect with this experience.”