By His Stripes

Many churches drape a strip of cloth on the cross in their worship space during Lent. Sometimes a black cloth for Good Friday is changed to a white cloth for Easter. Amazing, isn’t it, how making such a small addition to something we’re so used to seeing can be so noticeable!

The visual presented here builds on this idea but adds a bit of coarseness and texture to your cross, which, if your church is anything like mine, is a finely polished and architecturally appropriate symbol of the blood-stained boards our Savior was hung on.

This visual is designed to be hung behind your existing cross (getting it there might be the hardest part of this project!). You’ll need to adapt the size of this design to the proportions of your own cross and the space in which it hangs.

I used strips of varying widths of raw, undyed burlap to contrast with the scarlet cords, which call to mind the “stripes” Jesus bore on our behalf. If cord of adequate weight isn’t available, consider using strips of red cloth, roughly knotted.

Attach the strips of burlap to a curtain rod or heavy wooden dowel. Plan for a very wide rod pocket in each strip to avoid any tightness showing around the rod. Same thing with the cords: use large loops to attach them to the rod. To finish them off, add good-sized wooden beads to the ends to keep the cords from swaying.

Another nice touch is to replace the burlap strips with something fine and white for Easter Sunday. If you do this, leave the red cords as a reminder of the sacrifice Jesus made.

Dean Heetderks is a member of Covenant Christian Reformed Church in Cutlerville, Michigan, and art director of Reformed Worship. Show and tell him about your experiences at

Reformed Worship 94 © December 2009, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. Used by permission.