|Salvation Army, Christchurch City Corps.|
The church was only two or three years old; it replaced one lost in the 2011 earthquakes. Last week we were attending the funeral of my Mother-in-law - Jeane Prattley. The picture above doesn't do it justice, but the cross at the front of the auditorium dominates the space as soon as one enters.
Only it doesn't. There is no cross. What appears as a cross is simply an absence of wall, filled with glass to keep out the elements. When you look at the cross, you see mostly sky; dull and grey or, as on the day of the funeral, blue with fluffy white clouds passing by. The cross is an illusion; one that even the partially-sighted can't fail to notice.
Later, as six of us carried Jeane's casket to the hearse, we each became acutely conscious of her absence. Jeane was no longer with us. And yet it seems to me that, in embracing the fact of Jeane's absence, she comes more clearly into focus. Like that cross, there is now a Jeane shaped hole in the fabric of life; it is by looking at that absence that we can, perhaps, still perceive the presence.