This is the story of three crosses.
This Bible illustration by Gustav Doré was my first introduction to the cross of Christ. It appears in a Bible given to my parents by my namesake and his wife for me when I was 10 months old.
My mother once told me that as a toddler and before I could read I would spend hours paging through this Bible, looking for all the pictures and staring at them in silence. I can recall lying on the floor, the Bible in front of me, my chin cradled in my hands. I was tirelessly fascinated by the details of this and the the other Doré illustrations.
To this day I see almost every crucifix and every depiction of the crucifixion through the lens of this old print. I thank God for using a 19th century illustrator, my namesake, my parents, and my imagination as agents of his grace, a grace that burned the message of the cross into my mind and soul before I could even read.
I have only a vague recollection of taking this photo, but as I look at it today, the Scriptures come alive. According to Paul, Christ's death on the cross redeemed not only humankind but also all of creation, "whether those on earth or those in heaven." (Colossians 1:20)
This gave me an entirely new lens through which to see the world around me and inspires many of my photographs.
Finally, this is the cross under which I will some day rest.
Since my son, Timothy, is buried in my plot in a national cemetery, his marker must have my name and rank on it. It was a strange feeling when I first saw this stark reminder of my future, but it is a great comfort for me now. How contrary to the ways if the world, to take comfort in the depiction of an instrument of death. But not contrary at all when I see the way of the cross as the only possible path to the resurrection! A path made possible only by His perfect and infinite love that Timothy now experiences first hand. And when my body is laid under this cross with Tim’s, so will I.
What could be more comforting?
50 years of photographs and 35 years of keeping a commonplace book.