I’ve enjoyed sculpting in sand since I was a kid, and for the past 14 years my favorite subject, by far, has been the crucifixion of Jesus. (I blogged about this once before, in 2014.)
I love sculpting the crucifixion for many reasons. Just aesthetically, it’s a great theme: a dramatic, symmetrical anatomical subject. It’s also highly practical, well adapted to the horizontal plane best suited to the medium of sand. (I’m aware that sand sculptures can be startlingly vertical, but I’m a summer vacation amateur working with no tools except a shovel.)
More substantially, everyone passing by knows what it is, and many comment or strike up conversations. It’s edifying to many passers-by, and there are plenty of opportunities to chat with people about Jesus.
People want to talk about Jesus, if you give them a chance. Catholics, Protestants, people who are nothing in particular. In 14 years I’ve only ever gotten positive comments.
Sometimes people want to use the occasion to talk to their children about Jesus. Sometimes they want to talk about their church, or ask about mine.
I like my own kids to see me working on something that overtly, explicitly gives glory to God, even on vacation. It’s a meditative, prayerful experience for me, like praying the Sorrowful Mysteries.