On Christmas Day 2016, the congregation surprised me with a gift for the sanctuary. During that year’s summer retreat, several of the members noticed that I had been admiring the beautiful crosses on display throughout the retreat center. The unique and beautiful crosses had been crafted by the artist and metalworker, William Wells Johnson, Jr. (of IronNature.com). I had taken particular notice of one cross… “The Holy Names Cross.” Brother Cliff and Sister Kathy Rawls stirred the congregation to order such a cross from the artist for our sanctuary. It was placed behind the pulpit during the worship service on Christmas Day. Nothing had ever been on that wall before. It was as though the wall had been waiting for this particular cross, which fills the space perfectly. It was the first time that I had ever been speechless standing behind the pulpit. Ironically, only a couple of weeks earlier I had come across the brochure for “Iron Nature,” the artist’s shop, and admired the cross yet again; but, figured that it was beyond the budget and thought, “Perhaps one day we can at least purchase a small one for the hallway.” Little did I know that the Holy Spirit had already stirred the congregation and the large size cross was already on its way!
The artist states that the theme of this cross is, “Everlasting Love… The names of God are both numerous and beautiful. Within the cross is a vine of nails that weaves behind each name, symbolizing life in the cross. Blossoming from within this vine are six copper roses, placed near the points where spikes were driven through Jesus’ hands and feet. The great “I AM” is the focal point. This is bronze plated and raised for emphasis, as if to say: I AM all of these names to you in life. Place your hope in me. Let me be your Kings of Kings, your Advocate, your Prince of Peace.”
Twenty-three names are crafted into the cross. They are: Jesus; Son of God; I AM; The Way; The Alpha and Omega; Holy One; The Truth; Chief Cornerstone; Chief Shepherd; Dayspring; El Elyon; Messiah; Lamb of God; Morning Star; Advocate; Horn of Salvation; King of Kings; Prince of Peace; Root of David; Savior; Word of Life; Governor; Yahweh
It all brings to mind Ephesians 3:20-21; “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,
according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”