I’m in love with Jesus Christ. And the love that he has for each of us is beyond measure. Sharing my love of Jesus with my children and helping them acquire a personal love of God, themselves, is a major goal of my life and probably a goal of every Christian parent throughout history. One of the ways for me to share the love of God with my children was to leave them a part of me in the image of the crucifix. A particular image of Christ on the cross caught my eye a few years ago on a Holy Saturday evening and I said to myself that is the image of Christ that I want to carve and give to my children. So I borrowed the crucifix, found a suitable piece of basswood to carve, and started the process.
Because I planned on carving at least five of these crucifixes, I thought about how I might save some time, so after I carved the original, I used it as a pattern in a homemade duplicating machine I built from plans I found on the internet. After working out the set up procedures, it works fine, but I really don’t like using the machine because it’s loud and very dusty, but it saves time in the rough out process. As you can see in the picture at the top of this post, the progression of the carvings from band saw to rough out duplication from machine and finally to individual finish tooling. Because of the complexity of the carving, the arms and the body are done separately, so there is work in making patterns, etc.
I made several mistakes during the carving of these crucifixes, but the mistakes eventually helped me to better the process. It seemed that God was saying do it this way you knucklehead. Of course it is more subtle than that, but there is no doubt in my mind that the Holy Spirit is with me as I try to give Glory to God through my carving. As a matter of fact, that is my constant prayer; that I will continue to grow in the knowledge of how to better serve God through my desire and ability to work with wood.
Perhaps God is speaking to you as you read this account of this carving about how the Holy Spirit is manifesting his will in your life and perhaps you can use your passion to better serve him. We often have to remind ourselves to “put out into the deep” or in other words, we need to get out of the boat when Jesus says “come” as He did to His apostle Peter. We Christians are called by God to use all our faculties in serving Him and many times it requires us to leave our comfort zones to explore our limits.
In 2014, after I had the images blessed, I gave my three daughters and their families their completed crucifixes as Christmas gifts. I have two carvings in process for my two sons and another person has placed an order, so I have at least three more to complete, God willing….. As you can see, I’ve added tint to the oil finish to enhance the appearance and on the back of the cross I’ve added one of my favorite prayers, the “Prayer to the shoulder wound of Christ” to occasionally remind my children and those who might look at the back of the cross, of Christ’s great pain in carrying His cross. And also to remind them of the pain we might be called to endure in carrying our crosses. The great news is that we don’t have to carry them alone, Jesus is here for us.
I hope these images of our Lord will help all those who look upon them , joy and peace, knowing that our Lord loved us so much that He endured this kind of agony to save us from our sinfulness so that we can be with Him in eternal bliss.