The Salvadoran cross

The Salvadoran cross was designed for the occasion of the joint Catholic-Lutheran Commemoration by Salvadorian artist Christian Chavarria Ayala.

The cross depicts the Triune God’s creative, reconciling, and sanctifying work. At the base of the cross, the hands of God hold all things together, as is recorded in Colossians 1:17 and Hebrews 1:3.

Jesus Christ, Word of God, is at the center of all life, incarnate, redeeming, reconciling, sustaining all creation, and renewing our lives by his death and resurrection made present in the Eucharist. The vineyard and the vine represent both Christ and the people of God.

“Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches” (John 15:1-5).

Salvation through a sure promise

The Holy Spirit as dove signifies God’s work of salvation through a sure and certain promise of his redeeming presence among us until he comes again. In the waters of the font, the baptized have been made new and become part of the one body of Christ, the communion of saints.

“The church is the body of Christ. As there is only one Christ, so also he has only one body. Through baptism, human beings are made members of this body” (From Conflict to Communion, paragraph 219).

The Eucharist represents the visible and full church communion for which we dearly long.  At the table, our Lord Jesus Christ offers himself as nourishment for the journey, strengthening the communion of saints established in baptism, reconciling all people as walls of division are broken down.

“For Lutherans, as well as Catholics, the Lord’s Supper is a precious gift in which Christians find nourishment and consolation for themselves, and where the church is ever anew gathered and built up” (From Conflict to Communion, par 140). The cross depicts our deepest longing for a shared Eucharist.

Just as Christ takes upon himself our burden and sin so, too, must we for each other. The poor and oppressed are to be cared for and the refugee welcomed. In common witness and service to God and neighbor, we must continuously let ourselves “be transformed by the encounter with the other and by the mutual witness of faith” (From Conflict to Communion, par 240 Second Imperative).

God calls communities of faith to be places of reconciliation

All actions and symbols in this image point to Christ - his life, death and resurrection. The arms of the faithful are raised in thanksgiving for what God is doing.

The fish, too, point to Christ. In Greek, ichthus (fish) is an acronym for Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior. Jesus ate fish with his disciples after his Resurrection. Jesus also tells the story of Jonah and the whale to describe his death and resurrection. “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40).

The fish is also to be seen on the booklet From Conflict to Communion and the Common Prayer indicating our rootedness in Jesus Christ.

The images on this cross embody reconciliation: God’s call to communities of faith to be places of reconciliation and peace, God’s call to all the baptized to be ministers of reconciliation, engaging the path of goodness that offers reconciliation to all humanity and all creation. God embraces this splendid universal communion.