by Tony Nester

When I Am Lifted Up
Tony R. Nester
John 12:32

This sanctuary was designed so that your eyes would focus on the cross that is positioned front and center in our chancel area directly above the altar. Why?

Anyone who goes by our front entrance sees the large white cross that dominates the view of our church from the street. I believe we have the largest cross in town. Why?

Thanks to a memorial gift from the Peter Gambaiani family we now have a new cross and flame that hangs in Wesley foyer. It tells everyone who enters our building that this is a place where the Cross of Christ is lifted up. Why?

We always have a far larger attendance on Easter Sunday when we speak of the empty tomb and Jesus' resurrection from the dead than we do on Good Friday when we proclaim the death of Christ on the cross. And yet we have made the cross and not the empty tomb the central symbol of our faith. Why?

The answer is that the Cross of Christ has the power to draw us to God as does nothing else. There is something in the Cross of Christ that is found in nowhere else.

Jesus himself spoke of the power of the cross when he said in John 12:32, "If I am lifted up, I will draw all people to myself."

This is a paradox because at first sight the cross repels rather than attracts us. Crucifixion was a horrifying experience and whenever it is depicted in front of our eyes we are repulsed by the inhumanity of such torture, suffering, and humiliation.

And yet there is something in the Cross of Christ that keeps drawing us back to look upon our Crucified Lord. What is it?

In Chaim Potok's novel, My Name is Asher Lev, a young Jewish boy longs to be a painter and an artist. His parents who were Orthodox Jews did not approve of his desires and discouraged him at every turn from pursing what they judged to be a waste of time. Asher didn't give up, however, and he was allowed to have a small space in the attic of the house where he could paint. His parents ...

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