Friday, November 12, 2010


The engrailed cross is a cross with scalloped edges that gives the impression of spikes or thorns. According to the site seiyako, “The word engrailed is distantly related to grill, implying protection. (Actually, grill is not such a neat analogy for Christians, since although a grill can protect something precious, the precious gift of salvation is not locked away but freely available. Indeed, the cross can make us free.)”

But there is another way to understand this protection. It is not the Cross or salvation that is being protected, but is itself invincible and thereby this cross protects us. It is a grill for the Christian, not for itself.

The thorns also make an intriguing connection to the thorn of crown that Christ wore during His Passion. Thus two objects that were intended to humiliate Christ (the Cross and the crown of thorns) are transformed into something magnificent – the Cross becomes the Tree of Life and the crown of thorns becomes the crown of glory. Perhaps a more common and better symbol of this was last week’s Cross and crown.

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