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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Seeing the cross

Congregations typically give great attention to choosing a cross for a new sanctuary. Members know that over the years their eyes will focus week after week on this most significant symbol of the Christian faith. The empty cross shows us Christ's victory, reminds us that every Sunday is a celebration of Easter.

I don't know what style of cross the people of Iglesia Luterana Nueva Jerusalem near La Paz, Bolivia, will choose when they finish the church they are building with their own hands. But last October I did see the cross--two rough wood pieces--that is part of the framing (see page 48).

I was with an ELCA group, clergy and lay from Minnesota to Texas, on a Division for Global Mission fact-finding, faith-sharing trip to Bolivia and Peru. We clambered out of our bus one morning at Nueva Jerusalem to find members hard at work.

As we exchanged greetings, I looked up at one young man laying bricks on the second story--and I saw this cross. I thought then that the cross of Jesus forms the very structure of our faith, as this rough wood cross would help form the structure where faithful people will come to remember his suffering at Calvary and his resurrection.

This construction cross was visible, of course, for only a short while. But I see it again this Easter as I remember the witness of the people of the Bolivian Lutheran Church and especially the members of Nueva Jerusalem.

Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed!


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