Beneath the cross of Jesus I long to take my stand;
the shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land,
a home within a wilderness, a rest upon the way;
from the burning of the noontide heat and burdens of the day.
–Elizabeth C. Clephane
On Sunday, the congregation at all three services enacted the opening line of this Lenten hymn. We gathered outside and stood beneath the new cross that graces the front of our building. Together with those who remained in the sanctuary, we prayed and sang and dedicated it to the glory of God.
Over the course of the morning I looked out over the diverse group of saints on the sidewalk and the lawn: preschoolers and octogenarians, those well-seasoned in the faith and those new to Christian community, robust singers and those who preferred quiet contemplation, members and visitors. . . even a couple of joggers paused on their morning run and became part of the assembled congregation! As we sang, I found myself imagining the broader community of saints. I thought about those who have gone before us in the faith, those for whom the cross was “a home within the wilderness”. I am thankful that these ancestors are now part of the great cloud of witnesses who inspire us on our journey. I also thought of those who will come after us, those who will be baptized into the Body of Christ in future generations. I am hopeful that this new cross will be for them an enduring sign of God’s saving love in Christ Jesus.
We are part of a story much larger than ourselves, the story of God’s ongoing creative and redeeming love for the world. No matter what burdens we carry, the love of God holds us, from generation to generation. It is this promise, to which the cross points, for which I am most grateful.
Pastor Rebecca Shjerven