Old Rugged Cross
The nostalgia is long gone, over and done, but for years after we retired in 1998, my sentimental feeling this time on Easter Morning, as well as on Christmas Eve, was that Easter and Christmas did not happen anywhere in the world but Trinity Church. It isn't so: the dozens of children at Holy Nativity make up for anything and everything and are the ultimate crown on every Sunday morning!
At Trinity, Apalachicola, our Holy Saturday was spent with Linda decorating the Altar with Easter lilies stacked miles high in her “mechanics,” racks we made for the purpose. Lilies at Easter, poinsettias for Christmas Eve, poinsettias over the Altar and the Altar itself covered with fat candles of many sizes, flaming brightly, strikingly lovely. Easter and Christmas, Linda had done the same with the Altar at our church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Easter was most especially special because of the huge cross we’d built with beams from the old house our Methodist neighbors and dear friends Dick and Laura Macy were renovating, the house across the alley that was rumored to have served as a hospital during the Civil War. Dick and Laura had been Presbyterian, but moving to Apalachicola where there was no Presbyterian church, and Trinity Episcopal not having a minister when they arrived in town, they joined the Methodist church. I believe that some time after Linda and I retired from Trinity, they left First UMC for some reason and came on over to Trinity. Dear folks, lovingly remembered, long dead.
Linda had done the Lent and Easter cross for years at our church in Harrisburg and wanted to continue; so when I told Dick that we wanted to make a large cross, he brought two old beams from his house. I cut them, made the Cross, and it was perfect. Rustic, rough and rugged, aged more than a century to an antique, silver gray. We used that Cross all our fourteen Easters at Trinity.
Through Lent the Cross would have been in front of the church, plain and ugly. Holy Saturday Linda would decorate it breathtakingly beautiful with fresh spring flowers that she had ordered and selected. Beautiful pinks, whites, purples, yellows, and greenery, three huge Easter lilies always prominent. We kept it hidden away out of sight until just before dawn Easter morning. Then while it was still dark and damp and chilly, we would go out in our pajamas, lugging the enormous Cross down the sidewalk to out in front of the church, and lean it there for all to see as our Easter proclamation,
It was magnificent, the most beautiful thing in town every Easter all our years there. When we retired we brought the cross home to PC. Probably much the worse for years and wear, it may still be standing out behind our tool shed.
Christ is Risen!
Welcome, happy morning!