Crucifix: A Cross with the Body of Jesus – Part 2
Last month, my newsletter article was on the use of crucifixes. After its publication, I received an email from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN with many resources about this topic. Since their resources are extensive—video lectures, articles, and books—I decided to provide them for you here as a Part 2. Enjoy!
Resources for Lent
The 2022 Lenten Preaching Workshop with the Rev. Todd A. Peperkorn
This year’s Lenten Preaching Workshop, “Shadows of the Cross,” with Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Missions Rev. Dr. Todd A. Peperkorn, provided a number of resources for studying and preaching this Lenten season, and CTSFW is blessed to be able to share them with you, our dear brothers and sisters in Christ. In his writing and teaching, Dr. Peperkorn traces the cross and atonement throughout Scripture and discusses ways to introduce the crucifix into the art and worship of the Lutheran congregation. He explores major Old Testament narratives, such as the sacrifice of Isaac and the bronze serpent. There is also an in-depth examination of the cross in Sacraments and rituals, alongside symbols in the early church, rounding out each example to usable conclusions for application today.
As Peperkorn notes, there are five reasons that we need a body on the cross (and need it to remain part of the conversation/visual in worship):
1. The cross is about Jesus and his love for us in His death and resurrection—
While that may be obvious, anything that we can do to make that clearer is a good thing.
2. It holds up God’s creation of the body—
Our culture is getting weirder and weirder when it comes to the human body. God has created us, body and soul, and has bound Himself to us by taking on our flesh and blood. This is a plain way for us to confess God’s love for the body.
3. It is distinctive.
You can find crosses everywhere, even in the secular world. But a cross with a body (called a crucifix) is distinctive. It holds us up as a place that believes something, and that we are not a smaller version of Destiny or Adventure.
4. A cross with a body has a realism that we often lack—
Everywhere else in our church we have symbolism. You can see this in the stained glass, the Luther seal on the back wall, and the paraments. All of it is abstract and symbolic. While even a body on the cross is symbolic, it is a level of realism that draws attention and focus in a way nothing else can do.
5. It teaches the faith—
I think of this especially in light of the children of our congregation . . . I want our children to know that Jesus is a real person, who died and rose again from the dead for our salvation. I believe this can help us understand and hold Jesus up for the next generation and beyond.
Thankfully, Dr. Peperkorn has studied and taught on the subject area extensively and has assembled quite a few resources for pastors and laypeople this Lenten season:
Links to Bible Classes
Rev. Todd Peperkorn
Part One: Five Reasons We Need a Body on the Cross
Part Two: The Cross in the Bible
Part Three: The History of the Cross as a Symbol, Part 1
Part Four: The History of the Cross as a Symbol, Part 2
Part Five: The History of the Cross as a Symbol, Part 3
Part Six: The Crucifix and the Body
Part Seven: The Crucifix and the Resurrection
Part Eight: Photos and Wrap-Up
Links Peperkorn provided for participants for further study:
Luther and the Iconoclasts
Rev. Matthew Zickler
How to Meditate on the Passion of the Christ
The Cross Alone is our Theology
Pastor Emeritus John-Paul Meyer
The Cross, Lutheran, and Catholic
Lutheran Witness Vol. XXXVII
Cranach’s Little Reality Check
Getting a Corpus (Body) for the Cross
Rev. Todd Peperkorn
FAQ on the Crucifix
Rev. Todd Peperkorn
The Story Bible: 130 Stories of God’s Love
Rev. Edward A. Engelbrecht
To read more about the Rev. Dr. Todd A. Peperkorn:
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