Cross at Kerrville

The Empty Cross

As I read through the Lenten liturgy, I longed to do something a bit different but something also filled with tradition and imagery. I love prayer paths and prayer gardens and having heard about the Cross at Kerrville, I decide to visit.

Spring is just beginning to show herself in the gardens. The lingering scent of grapes from fading mountain laurel flowers fill the air, along with the powdery scent of yellow agarita. The pink blossoms of the eastern red buds bring the next splash of color as the first bright green leaves of young maples emerge from the branches.

The main garden path lies in the shape of the cross paved with Scripture in Spanish, English, and German—a testimony of the cultural heritage of the area—and provides the opportunity for a meditative walk to the large cross at the center.

At the start of path to the cross, Jesus greets me, fishing net in hand, the Star of David beneath his feet—a reminder of his Jewish rabbinical heritage—and the looming cross over his shoulder.

Fisher of Men

I make my way slowly, reading the Scriptures as I walk, listening, pausing, and listening again, until I reach the cross. It’s open underneath and I walk in. The cross towers above me. Inside someone has place placards for the sojourner, explaining salvation, baptism, prayer, miracles. I pray for a miracle over a couple people I know that need one.

I walk on. Gravel paths extend outward in several places, one of which provides white rocks and rock walls for visitors to write and place prayers in the garden.

Prayer Rock Garden

We would write a prayer on a rock and place it in the garden, but pens are no longer available on site (except to purchase at the gift shop—which I discover on the way out). If you visit, be sure to bring along a couple of sharpies for prayer on the spot or prepare a prayer rock and bring it when you come.

We visit the gift shop on the way out and learned that a planning meeting for Easter sunrise services would soon begin. Many worshipers are expected. We talk with the friendly store worker who shares a bit about the history of the cross, the gardens and the artists, Max Greiner Jr, Beverly Paddleford, and David Broussard. You can learn more at The Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden.

On the way out we stop at one last sculpture. Mary sits, waiting on a bronze wall with an empty spot next to her. Her life-sized hand stretches out to invite and I am compelled to slip mine into hers. Sorrow lines her face and she clutches a crown of thorns tinged with red—a reminder of the season we observe. Grief. Lament. Mortification. Confession.

Not far from us stands three enormous criss-crossed nails—the reason for Mary’s sorrow. Yet rising above the gardens soars the Empty Cross—testimony of why we rejoice, why we celebrate, why we sing. Soon Mary will trade her despair for a garment of praise, joy for mourning, and a crown of beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3).

Because. “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15‬:‭55‬-‭57‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Hallelujah. He Is Risen


About Jill English Johnston

God writes His story on every heart, if we only pause to read it. My heart has lived in a fantasy world since early childhood and am delighted that God has finally brought me to the place where I can bring the fantasies to life through story. I am currently working on a fantasy trilogy (of course) but I also post thoughts, reflections and (hopefully) inspiration to my website: I am a follower of the Rabbi Jesus, married to my best friend and inspiration, and the mother of three incredible children, one daughter and two sons, a son-in-love, a daughter-in-love and two adorable granddaughters. When not writing, I passionately pursue prayer, reading (never enough time to read them all!), and the outdoors. My husband and I both served in the US Navy and have lived/travelled through many states and all over Asia. We both still enjoy travelling, but we really love our home in New Braunfels, located at the Texas Hill Country.
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