Sometimes a pause in our pilgrims’ or tourists’ way can be enlightening; sometimes a photograph yields a more than passing thought when looked at anew in the armchair. Here is a processional Cross in Saint Edmundsbury Cathedral which we did not follow in procession; however, a closer, leisurely look tells a story.
The arrows that killed Edmund, King of the English, surround the Cross on which Jesus, the King of the Jews, the King of Glory, was killed. The Cross itself seems alive, aflame, reminding us that Jesus made the one sacrifice on Calvary, burning away sin, leading us to heaven.
Edmund’s arrows are subordinate to the Cross. This does not belittle his martyr’s sacrifice, but puts it into the context of Saint Paul’s bold assertion in Colossians 1:24: in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.
The Church itself is represented by the diocesan coat of arms, including the triple crown of Edmund’s kingdom of East Anglia. This Cross is not just a decorative object but also a statement of faith at both a local and universal level.
What emblem would you choose to symbolise yourself and your life after your death? What would you choose for a loved one? Here is one example I really like.
We adore you, O Christ and we praise you, for by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.