What Moves Us to Do What We Do?

The cross located on Route 309.

Recently, I’ve become aware of  a cross above the highway, as you make your way through the cut of rocks located on Route 309 between Trucksville and Kingston, PA. You’ll see it as you look to your left. I look for it every time we pass that way, and I wonder what it was that moved a person to put it there? Perhaps, their life has been changed by what the cross represents, the death of the Savior of the world. A very high price to pay so man could have eternal life.

I wonder about another person who placed clusters of crosses across the United States, Zambia and the Philippines, a total of 1864. Bernard Coffindaffer was his name, founder of Christian Crosses, Inc. He managed to carve a small fortune from a coal-washing business in the mountains of West Virginia. He worked like a dog to make his business a success, eighteen hours a day for thirty-five years. He became a Christian at the age of forty-two and eventually a self-proclaimed Methodist minister, serving churches in West Virginia. What was it that made him undertake such a project? He said, “The Holy Spirit knew I had money and I was willing to spend it.” He felt the urging of the Spirit in this project. For the nine final years of his life, he spent approximately $3,000,000 planting the clusters of three crosses. He said that the crosses speak peace within as we struggle without. Obviously this man knew the peace of knowing Jesus Christ and the crosses he erected are reminders that this peace is possible in everyone’s lives. Bernard died on October 8, 1993.

Pennsylvania has 62 cross clusters, Ohio, 158, and West Virginia, his home state, 352. Some states like New Jersey and New Mexico have only one cross cluster. The center cross, which stands 22 feet tall is painted gold, while the crosses on each side are 17 feet tall and are painted blue. Many years have passed since the crosses were erected and Bernard hoped that God would touch the hearts of many and would continue the work in painting and caring for the crosses.

A man and wife decided to repaint the wooden crosses near their home, north of

Shirl points out a cluster of crosses on Route 15, south of Dillsburg, PA.

Frederick, Maryland, and they remember how travelers beeped their horns and waved in approval of what they were doing. Christian Crosses, Inc. provides information on what paint and colors to use. Information is also given on how to straighten the crosses using wooden wedges. One observer found that sometimes they only need to be cleaned. The organization is dedicated to the preservation, maintenance and new construction of the crosses. However, volunteers and churches are making this possible.

We know that Coffindaffer’s efforts were meant to remind people that Jesus was crucified on a cross at Calvary for our sins, and that He is soon coming again. Surely this must be the same reason someone has erected the single cross in our area, high on the side of a hill. My prayer is that seeing this cross will cause someone to stop and think that there is much more to life than this world offers us. Pray as you pass this cross in our area and the clusters of crosses you see in your travels. Seeing them may be a turning point in someone’s life.

17 thoughts on “What Moves Us to Do What We Do?

  1. I have a friend, Ron Boudraux, who told me years ago, when things are really bad, or you think they are, picture Christ on the cross and what he stands for, your “hurts” will FADE, IT REALLY WORKS FOR ME, THE CROSS REALLY has deep meaning for christians. Thanks Shirl, this one hits home for me.

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  2. The placing of those crosses across the country is a good witness of what The Lord Jesus Christ has done for the people of this world. The way of salvation through accepting Him as our personal Savior is something that needs to be continually proclaimed. Anything that can be used to point people to Him is definitely something that needs to be done.

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  3. Many times I have driven thru the rock cut and hadn’t noticed the cross the day I was taking my 4yr old fo the dentist in Wilkes barre she shouts out from the back of the van ” look mommy it’s the cross that Jesus died on up on that hill”, then I saw it and realized that many times in our day to day shuffles we fail to see the simple beauty and all the little details that make life special!

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  4. There is a cartoon of people carrying thier cross and one keeps praying to cut some of the load away…so he does…again and again. When they all reach a seperation in the earth the one who cut his cross was unable to make a bridge and cross over to the other side. We complain about the cross we bear but don’t realize it is preparing us for the dip in the road that God can see and we can not. God didn’t promise days without pain…laughter without sorrow…sun without rain…but He does promise strength for the day…comfort for the tears…a Light for the way. Anonymous All those crosses across the world are symbolic reminders to us…God bless whoever placed them there…may you all find strength for the day…!!

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  5. I know of a cross cluster that has probably not been counted in the 62 clusters that you mentioned as existing in PA. My Uncle (Harry Rossman) had an outdoor chapel on is property; and he had placed a large cross cluster above the chapel area, and high on the ledges above the seating area, where church members would gather to worship. I have not been to the site in many years, but I am sure that it is still there. My Uncle and Aunt (Viola Rossman) were very active in their church; and they supported and hosted the youth group from their “Outlet Free Methodist” church. My Aunt Vi was our youth group leader. The group met weekly at their home. I know this because I was a member of that youth group. My Aunt and Uncle truly loved the Lord and honored him in all that they did. People that construct a cross cluster are in awe of our God; and they want to show their love for him. These cross clusters are their witness to that love and devotion to God. Whenever I see a cross cluster, I think of God and my Aunt and Uncle. My Aunt and Uncle have long since passed, but the times that I spent with them and the influence that thay had in my life is still alive inside of me. They helped me to learn about our faith and to develop a strong belief in God. They were truly amazing and loving; and I miss them so!!! Thank you for writing your blog and allowing me to fondly recall the times that I spent with both of them. 🙂 God is amazing!!!!

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  6. I love the crosses along the road! There are some on the road that I take to go to the store. Somehow they always look stark and forlorn up on the hill and yet they fill me with joy and hope. I’m thankful for that man that decided to spread a visual representation of his faith.

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  7. Thanks for the story about the crosses. As Rosina and I travelled representing Source of Light Minnistries, we have seen these crosses across different states. We often wondered why they were painted the colours they were and how it happened different landowners would have put them up and painted them that way. Another thing that we have seen often south of the Mason-Dixon line are billboards on what I would normally term as farm property that had Scripture verses on them. Just another way to get the Gospel out.

    By the way, speaking of crosses, Rosina will have to tell you sometime about the pastor’s daughter in a village in the mountains of Mexico and her “chicken’s cross.” Got you wondering now!

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  8. hi shirley..i loved your story..i havent noticed any painted crosses out here,but now i will be looking around for them.. god bless you shirley ..you are special..love you ada mae

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