Blessing for Cross Raising
June 30, 2017
Rev. Dr. Tom Yates, Moderator
This morning we bear witness to a resurrection, a rebirth. First Congregation Church United Church of Christ in Vancouver has suffered a catastrophic loss to be sure. But out of the destruction of the fire, the church has remained steadfast and not only survived but truly has thrived. Much as the Phoenix bird of ancient mythology rose from the ashes of destruction to fly again, our church too is slowly but surely rising again. Many of us watched as the flames tried to consume this cross, and then as the firefighters sought to knock it down. It remained in its place atop the highest point of the church through it all. Now it has been carefully restored and readied to be lifted again to its rightful place.
The cross is a symbol of death but also a significant symbol of new life. As Protestant Christians we celebrate that the cross of Christ’s death is also a symbol of resurrection, a sign that proclaims to all who see it that in Christ our Faith lives on in love and service.
The original designers and builders of this church building made sure that the cross was at the highest point of the building so that it could be seen clearly not only to those who worship here, but also to those who live in this neighborhood and surrounding community. They put the church on the crest of this hill so that passersby on the highway below coming and going on the main street of the West Coast would see it as well. I remember looking for this cross as I travelled Highway 99 and Interstate 5 long before I ever knew I would live in Southwest Washington. And, long before I became a member of this congregation I looked to see this cross and found it to be a touchstone of sorts, a comforting sight.
Today we bless and consecrate this cross that it may once again be a sign of hope to all. The words of a old hymn of the church put it this way:
“Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim,
Till all the world adore his sacred name.
1. Come, follow where our Savior trod,
Our King victorious, Christ, the Son of God.
4. Thy kingdom come, that earth’s despair may cease
Beneath the shadow of its healing peace.
5. For thy blest cross which doth for us atone,
creation’s praises rise before thy throne.”
If you are able please step up and as a gathered community of faith together let us lift high the cross –
Prayer of blessing –
O God we bless and consecrate this piece of angled metal shaped and formed in the sign of the cross. We pray that it may stand tall once again as a clear sign to those who gather here to worship and serve, as a beacon to this neighborhood and community that this is a place of hope and peace and love, and as a symbol to passersby, travelers on the roads of life that here is a safe haven, a place of renewal and rest. Thank you God for your blessing and the anointing presence of your Holy Spirit on this cross and on this congregation of your faithful people. Amen.
And now, Lift High the Cross! Please feel free to add your own words of blessing and commendation as the construction workers raise it up to the roof top.