I took it on a recent visit to the holy city of Leigh, place of my birth.
It is a photograph of three crumbling lumps of concrete (two are there in the distance). It was a bit of a ‘wow’ moment when I came across them, because they are, to my great surprise, all remarkably familiar.
When I was growing up, these three ‘rocks’ were situated at either the edge or in the sandpits at Firs Lane Park. For us toddlers, they were the mountains we climbed, the cliffs we bravely jumped from into the depths of the sand pit. These were the castles we fought to be king of. I’m sure I bruised my knees more than once at these towering promontories!
It was a jolt back to a previous time, and a fond one. It makes you realise how much you can invest in symbols that link to your experiences, and in which emotions you were not aware of are embedded.
Religious symbols are like that. In general, we steer away from giving objects peculiar significance, and rightly so, but inevitably they have meaning and significance.
The cross is like that.
All I would advise is, don’t romanticise it. It isn’t a tame symbol, just like Jesus is not a neutral name. They have a power from God – not as religious artefacts, but because they point to a living God who seeks a relationship with every single one of us.
To that, I would advise you to jump right in.