I sat in a church service today with the usual huge wooden cross hanging by invisible means precariously over the altar. I was feeling a bit vulnerable and nervous anyway because I was attending our annual diocesan convention. After the opening procession of banners, deacons, seminarians, priests, deans and bishops, we sat down to hear the lessons. I caught the sight of the shadow of the cross reflecting off the curved wall behind the altar. While the cross was set in wooden stiffness, its shadow felt alive. It had movement as the flames of the candles on the altar flickered. You could make out a form on the cross from the variegated surface it rested upon. I could swear that I saw Jesus’ head downward—peaceful and sad.

In the shadow of the cross I felt an invitation to the mystery of faith and a longing to be faithful. I felt a peace as I remembered old words I heard 15 years ago come to life...

I was sitting in my living room looking through my father’s old prayer book as Marcus, my husband, was writing in the other room. He called out and asked me if I had a lyric to offer just as a piece of paper fell from my father’s book. In his writing were the words, “In the shadow of the cross may your soul find rest.” So, I repeated those words out loud to Marcus and he said, “perfect.” I tucked the words back into the pages and wondered at their secret message and appearance. I had all but forgotten those words until this morning. For a moment I had felt scared and vulnerable, and my father’s words came to offer sanctuary. I found peace in the shadow of the cross. The blurred and sweet shadow took me in.