These words were used at the dedication for the Tower Cross at the Old High Church on Monday 3 February 2013.
We proclaim Christ crucified…
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom,
and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.
1 Corinthians 23a.24b.25
I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.
I would like to read words from a hymn we sand here on Sunday, by the late Ian Cowie, a Scottish clergyman, hymn writer and member of the Iona Community. His words remind us that the cross of Christ shows God coming among us and living with us in everyday life. Even although Christ’s way led to is death, still there is resurrection.
Lifted high on your cross,
drawing all folk,
drawing all folk;
lifted high on your cross,
drawing all folk to you.
1 Down you come to live among us
part of your creation,
knowing poverty and sorrow,
sharing each temptation. Chorus
2 On the gallows there they nail you
God despised, rejected;
deep within your earth they hide you
till you’re resurrected. Chorus
3 Light and love pour down upon us,
you relive your life within us,
all life consecrating. Chorus
Ian Cowie (born 1923) from John 12:24
© Ian Cowie copied from HymnQuest 2012: CLUE Version HymnQuest ID: 56961
The cross is, of course, an interesting symbol for a religious faith, for as Ian Cowie says, the Roman cross was the gallows of its day. It’s said that the Celtic Church added the circle around the centre of the arms of the cross as a symbol of the sun, which rises anew every day. So it is the cross which we have raised above this city both reminds us of the death of Christ- and his identification with human suffering; and also of his resurrection- the defeat of evil and death.
The cross is a very earthly symbol. With the cross at the centre, Christianity can never deny the reality of evil, and Christians can never turn away from human suffering.
Even although we put this cross high in the sky above our city, we recall that the cross of Christ was rooted in the ground outside a city wall. George Macleod, founder of the Iona Community once said, ‘Jesus was crucified not in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves’. May the cross remind us that Jesus is at work in this city, often in the lowest places and among the most forsaken of people.
Let us pray.
Lord Jesus Christ
crucified for our sins
but crowned for our salvation,
you broke the power of darkness
and rose triumphant from the tomb.
BCO 1992 p396
We praise you that you lived among us
died our death,
and bring us hope through your resurrection.
Bless the cross which we raise over this city
to your praise and glory.
May it be a reminder to all who suffer and grieve
that God identifies with them.
May it remind all in authority in this city
that Pilate sent an innocent man to the gallows,
and that they should not wash their hands of injustice.
May it bring hope to those without hope
that death and evil will be defeated by the love of God.
we thank you for the work of those who have erected this cross
and we thank you anew for our mothers and fathers in the faith
you have worshipped here for centuries.
May this cross help in our generation
to draw people to Jesus Christ
that they would learn anew from his story
and be inspired to walk in his teaching
and to know the comfort and challenge of his life and death.
Grant to our generation
a new flowering of faith, hope and love
that the cross and all it stands for
would be honoured in the life of the city of Inverness.
We pray all this in the name of Christ,
crucified and risen.
In his words we pray together, saying,
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory, for ever,
May God bless this cross and all the Churches of this city
and all the life of this city.
The blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.
More details about the cross and the repairs to our spire here.