Here is the story behind the cross hanging in the front of our chapel:
When we purchased our property, the fellowship hall had a covered outdoor walkway which we enclosed. The walkway roof was supported by a number of wooden posts that were badly weather-beaten. So, when work began on the reconstruction, the builders cut the posts down and threw them into the dumpster to be hauled away to a landfill somewhere.
One day a carpenter was rummaging through the trash and found the discarded posts.
They certainly did not look very good. They had holes from the bolts, dents from many years of abuse, many layers of paint, holes where the termites had eaten away at them, rotten patches where dry rot had decayed the wood and also many cracks due to 36 years of exposure to the elements. The carpenter fished the posts out from the other rubble and took them home.
Later he began to strip all the old paint so that one could see the wood underneath. The timbers that were in better condition were converted into table legs for the preacher’s study but two pieces were so decayed that they seemed not to have any real value.
But as the carpenter studied the lumber that seemed to be good for nothing, an idea came to him: He would make a cross for the church from these pieces. So, he once again applied his skills, and planed the two pieces of wood and patiently worked with them to form the eight-foot cross which now hangs behind the preacher.
Several coats of varnish has brought back the original beauty of the wood but it is still somewhat rough, has some of the old paint in the cracks and still has many of the holes from the bolts, termites and rot.
Now the “useless lumber” that was rescued from the trash occupies the central position in our chapel.
This is very significant because it speaks of God’s grace to every one of us.
Many of us were discarded by the world and were severely scarred and wounded by the blows of sin and life in general. People had given up on some of us and threw us out on the trash heap of society. BUT GOD who is rich in mercy rescued us. He cleansed us through His Blood and began the long process of changing us into something useful in His Kingdom.
Yes, we still carry many of the marks and scars of our previous lives.
But He has wonderfully begun to restore us and unearth the buried beauty of His image which had been hidden by the grime of sin, self-improvement and decay. Not only has he removed so much of the stuff which hid the true beauty in us, but he has changed us to take a prominent place in His Church.
The cross on the wall cannot preach, but it reminds us of the centrality of the Cross to our faith as well as the price Jesus paid to rescue us. In the same way, you may not be able to preach, but you too, can display His amazing grace and point to the Great Carpenter as you show to all the beauty of Christ within. Don’t feel that your scars and imperfections disqualify you. On the contrary, they are living testimony that the glory belongs to Him and not to us and that He is able to save the worst of sinners and make them useful in His Kingdom.
Finally, the cross on the wall reminds of a second truth:
“The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.” (Psalm 118:22 & Matthew 21:42)