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
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.