Dressing the Cross
The leafy branch reminds us of his entry into Jerusalem, when the crowds cheered him as the Messiah.
The money-bag and coins represent the thirty pieces of silver paid to Judas Iscariot for betraying Jesus.
The towel recalls that before the Passover meal Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. This most menial of acts brought home his teaching that he came to serve, not to be served.
The chalice is a symbol of his actions during this last meal, when he took bread, broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying ‘this is my body broken for you’ and passed round a cup of wine, saying ‘this is my blood of the new covenant, poured out for you’. We remember these acts every time we celebrate Holy Communion together.
After his arrest and condemnation Jesus was beaten, scourged and humiliated; we have a whip and the crown of thorns to remind us of these things. And of course the cross itself, on which Christ died.
On Easter Day the cross is decorated with flowers, signifying new life, because Christ is not dead but is risen.