If you have driven by Sacred Heart Cathedral in recent weeks, you probably have noticed the flurry of activity that has taken place. The great weather that has blessed the construction workers have allowed them to make great strides in the construction process. Sacred Heart has been the place of many spiritual moments, and if you look toward the heavens the next couple of days, you will notice something new…The gilding of the cross.
“Lift High The Cross” seems at first to be a contradiction because during the time of Jesus the cross was an instrument of death and destruction. It was a torture device used for capital punishment. In fact, it was considered such a cruel form of death that it could not be used on Roman citizens. Whenever Roman citizens were executed, they were beheaded. This was considered more humane than the cross.
But the death of Jesus on the cross changed the nature of the Cross and made a symbol of death and destruction into a sign of victory. Death itself was destroyed by Jesus’s death on the cross. So we do Lift High the Cross and proclaim the love of Jesus Christ for us by holding that sign high into the sky.
It is intentional that the highest point on our new cathedral is the Cross of Christ. Holding up this sign for the world is a symbolic way of holding up our faith in the of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is also why the Cross of Christ is often adorned to show that a feared thing is now a beautiful thing.
This week, through the very generous gift of Evergreene Architectural Arts, the cross on top of the dome of our Cathedral will be gilded in gold. Originally, we had not planned to gild the cross because we did not think we could afford it. When Jeff Greene, the President of Evergreene Architectural Arts heard that, he said: “Wait, you have to do this!”. He added, “There is something about gold as a metal, it won’t tarnish, it’s a noble material, it’s God-like.”. We are very grateful for the free gift from Evergreene, which has made this possible.
Now and for many years to come our cross will shine brightly to the Knoxville community and proclaim the love of Jesus Christ by lifting high His cross.