A small thing caught my attention while reading Malory’s Morte d’Arthur. Several times these tales mention knights parting ways when they came to a stone cross. After doing a little research, I discovered that stone crosses were erected all across the British Isles during the medieval period. Some are called “high crosses” and are thought to mark preaching points or markets. Many are beautiful Celtic crosses with a circle or nimbus.
What caught my imagination, however, were the Dartmoor crosses. They aren’t tall or ornate. According to legend, an abbot had them placed throughout the moor to keep monks from getting lost as they walked to the next monastery. Scattered throughout the moorlands are bogs—some of which are dangerous because of the green sphagnum moss that covers the surface. These moors were the setting for Sir Conan Doyle’sThe Hounds of the Baskervilles and are the subject of many tales of ghosts and hauntings.
In these moorlands, stone crosses marked important crossroads and a safe path around the mire. My path has seemed much like a moor. By calling, I am (it seems) neither fully a pastor nor fully a professor. I write stuff that is neither literary criticism nor Bible teaching. I teach Shakespeare and Sunday school. For me this meandering path has been uncharted territory–neither this nor that.
I don’t think I have any ornate high crosses in my life. But I hope my decisions to follow Christ have marked the crossroads. I pray that every time I have chosen the cross instead of the world I have raised a cross, a plain cross marking the way.