MOUNT ZION
LUTHERAN CHURCH
SANCTUARY CROSS




pd w cross
A word from Pastor Dan about the new Sanctuary Cross:

Several people have asked me about some of the images depicted in the cross that I made for the new sanctuary. I find this exciting because this is exactly the purpose of this particular cross, to be a teaching tool.

Several years back, my heart was deeply saddened to learn that the trend of some "mega" churches was to remove the cross from their places of worship because it was confusing and offensive to "seekers." So I thought it would be nice to have a cross that instructed people of God's most gracious movement toward us rather than remove that understanding from worship.

This particular cross measures 7 feet tall and 5 feet wide and has two sides. It has a crucifixion side and a resurrection side. There are always two sides to any cross we are called to bear in this life and because there are two sides in which God's love is made known and present, there is always hope in any situation and in our lives.

I hope many of you study this and remember so that when people ask and want to know more about the cross, you will be able to witness what the cross means, not just literally, but also with your lives.
crucifixion

Crucifixion Side:



At the top there is a representation of the placard that Pilate had placed over Jesus which has the letters INRI. This comes from the Latin, IESVS NAZARENVS REX IVDAEORVM which translates, "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." Along with the letters on the cross is a representation of the crown of thorns which symbolize the suffering servant crown this King wears for us.

In the middle of the cross, where the beams cross, is a heart. This represents the heart of God revealed in His willingness to give of Himself completely and fully, that we all may be restored and redeemed. This heart is being pierced by a spear as a reminder of how our sin affects our Lord.

On either side of the horizontal beam are large hands. These large hands represent that God, in this moment, is reaching out to embrace all of humanity and creation and His hands are big enough to take it all in; all the good, all the bad, all the joy, all the sorrow. The hands on the cross have a deep triangular hold representing the nails that inflicted the Triune God.

The lower portion of the cross portrays stylized legs and feet. The legs are hard to make out as they are twisted which represents the pain, agony and torment of crucifixion. The feet are on a stylized rock which represents that even in death, God remains unchanged. He is still Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of all of like and this is the Rock on which faith is built.
resurrection

The Resurrection Side:



At the top of the resurrection side is a crown with a gem or the sun radiating out as a reminder of God's ultimate glory which now reigns in newness and in victory throughout all time and creation. Just below the crown are two Greek letters. These letters are alpha and omega. Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last. Jesus is the beginning and the end of all time and space. This understanding comes from the book of Revelation 1:8.

Again, there are two hands at the ends of the horizontal beam, but this time the hands are filled. On one side, the hand is filed with a bunch of grapes representing the wine, the blood of the new covenant which comes to us in the holy sacrament of Communion. On the other side, there is a hand receiving three droplets of water representing the new birth that comes from heaven in our baptism. The hand then overflows with water to from a cloud. From this cloud descends a stylized dove as it moves to the bottom portion of cross. The dove, the represents the giving of God's very Holy Spirit and is in reference to Matthew 3:16.

Below the head of the stylized dove are three stylized tongues of fire. This represents the Pentecost event in which the God's Holy Spirit is poured out and received by many just as promised by God in Joel 2:28. The Pentecost event is not a one time occurrence, but is an ongoing event as each of us have received God's very Holy Spirit and in so, we are not idle as His disciples.

SANCTUARY CROSS


Explanation of symbols and artwork

The cross in the sanctuary was designed and carved by Pastor Dan. All of the following text is from his description of the cross:

Several people have asked me about some of the images depicted in the cross that was made for the new sanctuary. I find this exciting because this is exactly the purpose of this particular cross, to be a teaching tool. Several years back, my heart was deeply saddened to learn that the trend of some "mega" churches was to remove the cross from their places of worship because it was confusing and offensive to "seekers". So I thought it would be nice to have a cross that instructed people of God's most gracious movement toward us rather than remove that understanding from worship"

This particular cross has two sides.  It has a crucifixion side and a resurrection side.  There are always two sides to any cross we are called to bear in this life and because there are two sides in which God's love is made known and present, there is always hope in any situation and in our lives.


THE CRUCIFIXION SIDE


crucifixion inri At the top there is a representation of the placard that Pilate had placed over Jesus which has the letters INRI. This comes from the Latin, IESVS NAZARENVS RES IVDAEORVM which translates, "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews".
thorns
Along with the these letters on the cross is a representation of the crown of thorns which symbolize the suffering servant crown this King wears for us.
heart
In the middle of the cross, where the beams cross, is a heart. ;This represents the heart of God revealed in His willingness to give of Himself completely and fully, that we all may be restored and redeemed. This heart is being pierced by a spear as a reminder of how our sin affects our Lord.
On either side of the horizontal beam are large hands. These large hands represent that God, in this moment, is reaching out to embrace all of humanity and creation and His hands are big enough to take it all in; all the good, all the bad, all the joy, all the sorrow. The hands on the cross have a deep triangular hole representing the nails that inflicted the Triune God.
righthand lefthand
legs
The lower portion of the cross portrays stylized legs and feet. The legs are hard to make out as they are twisted which represents the pain, agony and torment of crucifixion. The feet are on a stylized rock which represents that even in death, God remains unchanged. He is still Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of all life and this is the Rock on which faith is built.

The Resurrection Side

resurrectionside
At the top of the resurrection side is a crown with a gem or the sun radiating out as a reminder of God's ultimate glory which now reigns in newness and in victory throughout all time and creation. crown
alpha Just below the crown are two Greek letters. These letters are alpha and omega. Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last. Jesus is the beginning and the end of all time and space. This understanding comes from the book of Revelation 1:8.
Again, there are two hands at the ends of the horizontal beam, but this time the hands are filled. On one side, the hand is filled with a bunch of grapes representing the wine, the blood of the new covenant which comes to us in the holy sacrament of Communion.
hand w water
On the other side, there is a hand receiving three droplets of water representing the new birth that comes from heaven in our baptism.
hand and grapes
The hand then overflows with water to form a cloud.
cloud

dove
From this cloud descends a stylized dove as it moves to the bottom portion of the cross. The dove represents the giving of God's very Holy Spirit and is in reference to Matthew 3:16.

Below the head of the stylized dove are three stylized tongues of fire. This represents the Pentecost event in which the God's Holy Spirit is poured out and received by many just as promised by God in Joel 2:28. The Pentecost event is not a one time occurrence, but is an ongoing event as each of us have received God's very Holy Spirit and in so, we are not idle as His disciples.
tongues
I hope many of you study this and remember this so that when people ask and want to know more about the cross, you will be able to witness what the cross means, not just literally, but also with your lives.
Written by Pastor Dan.
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