In this stone, we are reminded of the Gospel accounts of the Crucifixion and how Christ was crucified with two bandits, one on either side. St Luke tells us that one of the criminals rebuked the other for mocking Christ, since they were there for crimes they had committed, whereas this man had done nothing wrong, and he asked Christ to remember him in his kingdom. According to tradition, the Good Thief was crucified to Christ’s right. We see Christ’s cross in the middle, a shining star in his face. The left part of the transverse beam, as we look it, may remind us of the boa constrictor digesting an elephant in The Little Prince. The Good Thief’s cross is similarly high, birds singing from the top of it, but the upright stake is missing and has been replaced by a white line, as if the Good Thief is already ascending into heaven. What is noticeable is the other thief’s cross, which is much smaller and is also attached to the ground by only a white line. The head of this cross reaches up to the arm of Christ; the other goes much higher. The face on this side looks towards us; on the other, it looks to the left and gapes open.
Meanwhile, in language, let us continue with connections made by the addition of a letter. There is a beautiful connection between “die” and “tide”, as if our life in this world was a breath on the shore before we are pulled away by forces out of our control, the water seething and bubbling as it sinks into the sand and is replaced by oxygen. Similarly, “fish” and “shift” – I love this image of the fish darting through the waters, seen for a moment and then shifting out of view with a twist of its tail. Or how about “trail” and “ritual”? A ritual is something we perform on repeated occasions. It can sometimes appear boring, but it wears away a path for us to walk on. Like the fish, we twist and turn and suddenly shift out of view, for while the beach is shallow and covered in shingle, the sea (contained in the middle of “beach”) is deep, there are currents, the line is held in place by surface tension.