Lift High the Cross

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Galatians 6:14, New International Version


For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the Cross of our Master, Jesus Christ. Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate. Can’t you see the central issue in all this? It is not what you and I do. It is what God is doing, and he is creating something totally new, a free life!

Galatians 6:14, The Message


            He is the cross-maker. In the forty some years of membership at Thompson Church, Dick Quanstrom has made at least three crosses for three different worship spaces: the sanctuary, the chapel and Fellowship Hall.

The Cross in Sanctuary

            1811 was the year when a group of neighbors from around here purchased the land to build a sanctuary and a cemetery. Since that time, the church has acquired more land and the buildings have become a lot bigger.

Our sanctuary has looked more or less like it does since 1875, when it underwent a major renovation. A balcony that wrapped three-quarters of the way around the church was removed. The interior was turned completely opposite from the original building. The front of the church became the back of the church and back turned into the front. The four stained glass windows were added at that time.  

One thing that Thompson Memorial Presbyterian Church never had was a cross in this sanctuary. You have to understand that the founders of this church were dyed-in-the wool Presbyterians. They didn’t like the thought of having a cross in the church because back then, 200 years ago, putting a cross on the wall seemed “too Catholic”. So, for about 120 years, you would have not seen a cross in any part of this sanctuary. In the 1930’s Ruth Vansant, then a member of the TMPC Youth Group, decided, along with her friends to raise money to buy a cross for the sanctuary. The young people did bake sales and other fund-raising functions. They probably bugged their parents for a contribution. I don’t know how much a cross cost back then.

            Ruth Vansant Jefferson helped bring the cross to the sanctuary. The large cross behind the pulpit was hand-crafted by Dick Quanstrom in the late 1970’s.

The Cross in the Chapel

            In the early 1990’s our church was facing some challenging times. Even so, the people decided to start a partial renovation of our Educational Building. The plans included creating an intimate worship space which would be called The Chapel. This room still stands, though it is now smaller from the expansion of our Fellowship Hall from our most recent renovation. It’s one of my favorite rooms in a church that is loaded with gorgeous spaces. On one wall is a smaller cross that Dick carved from a tree removed when our sand mound was formed about 25 years ago.

The Cross in Fellowship Hall

            Late last week, Tim Sager and some of his crew carried two large ladders into Fellowship Hall. One strong guy held the new cross that Dick and his lovely assistant Nancy made, while Tim attached it to one of beams. This was actually the second cross Dick made for Fellowship Hall. The first one he made, Dick hated. To his credit, he went ahead and created it. Dick felt the first cross was too small and too cold.

            This Easter, Barb Markey had a seat in Fellowship Hall for one of our morning services. Barb knew there was a cross above the stage but she couldn’t see it. The week after Easter, Barb knocked on the door of my study one morning and asked me to follow her into Fellowship Hall. Barb wondered if we could re-do the cross. Dick, the cross-maker and Tim, the cross-poster were consulted.  Ideas, drawings and mock-ups were exchanged. Dick and Nancy went to work and our new cross was formed.

            Dick and the Apostle Paul share this in common. Both men lifted high the cross.