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Lost Icon

May 25, 2005

Had a very thought-provoking and moving evening with Ikon, a group from Ireland which stages worship services in public places. We entered a mostly dark, Egyptian-architecture church with vibey music and trippy images playing on twin screens. As we came in, we were encouraged to write our name on a cross which was laying in the front. I think we all singed it right side up, so we were surprised as the group spoke about Saint Peter’s Cross.

Upon learning that he would be crucified, Jesus’ follower Peter famously said, “I am not worthy to die in the manner of my Lord”. And so the Romans obligingly stood his cross upside down, as Ikon did at the front of the church.

“I am a heretic
I am unworthy
I am not Christ”

True, true, true. And shocking, as we usually associate an upside-down cross with Satanism. But before it was Satanic, it was Christian. Or maybe it is both. Because before ‘satan’ (in Hebrew, ha satan) was morphed into a proper name, it was merely translated ‘the adversary’. And that is me, too. I am a follower of Jesus, but I am also his adversary. For I resist his work, and deny his way on a daily basis. And in that failure, Peter gives me hope.

Interesting, too, for a couple of days later I saw St. Peter’s cross up the road at a display of African art. Have I not seen this Christian Icon before?

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