By Ralphine Major
It is, perhaps, the most recognized symbol of Easter. Often displayed inside and outside of churches, the cross is a constant reminder of the most important event in history. While Christmas celebrates our Saviour’s birth, Easter marks the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The story behind one cross in Knoxville, Tennessee, is amazing. Dr. James McCluskey, Pastor Emeritus and former senior pastor who served 37 years at Wallace Memorial as well as interim pastor for many area churches since his retirement, shares how the church that started in the Tillery Theater on Clinton Highway came to have the lighted cross on their new worship center built in 1990. It was discussed that thousands passed by the church every day, but many of them would never enter the inside of the new fan-shaped building. “It was important to give a Christian witness on the outside,” McCluskey said. The huge, towering cross would distinguish the new building in a special and unique way. At 180 feet tall, the illuminated cross is high enough to be clearly seen from nearby Interstate 75.
Shortly after the cross was erected, the church heard from someone who had attempted suicide three times. While driving up the highway, they saw the cross and drove to it. The person felt God speak to them saying He had already sent His Son to die on the cross, and it was time for them to live again. The pastor of an intercity church wrote that each afternoon he drove home on I-75, and the cross was a beacon of encouragement to him every time he looked at it.
May this cross and every cross be a beacon to all of us. Dr. McCluskey’s favorite verse is a wonderful way to sum up the message of Easter: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 KJV)