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“He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.” (Colossians 1:20)

Rumors had abounded for years that a natural cross of snow lay hidden high in the rugged mountains of Colorado. Many claimed to have seen the cross, but others were unable to find it. Therefore it became known as Colorado’s elusive Mount of the Holy Cross. William Henry Jackson, an experienced wilderness photographer who had accompanied wagon trains to California, set out in 1873 to provide reliable proof of its existence. In the pre-dawn hours of August 24, Jackson prepared the heavy camera equipment he had carried up the mountain opposite the cross. He took his photos just as the first rays of the sun angled low across the crevassed face, emphasizing the lines of the cross. The best of the resulting photos became one of Jackson’s most famous images, and it ended any further doubts about its existence. Published in well-known mass-circulation magazines, his pictures became immensely popular and showed Americans a rugged western wilderness that most would never see firsthand.

It was discovered that there was nothing miraculous about the cause of the Mount of Holy Cross’ formation. After thousands of years of erosion, two deep ravines had formed in the steep rocky face of a mountain peak. Intersecting at a 90-degree angle, the ravines sheltered the winter snow from the sun well after the rest of the mountain snow had melted away. For a brief time, a nearly perfect cross of snow would appear on the rock face often melting away later in the summer. It prompted artists to paint and the poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to pen The Cross of Snow. Over time the land formation eroded and shifted the right arm of the cross to visibly fall off, and the image was lost forever. For certain hikers and climbers, the mountain is still a destination, but the feeling of any sort of sacred symbol has long departed with the collapse of the cross. All that remains are a series of photographs and a few artistic remnants from a few long dead landscape painters. It stands only in myth, in art, and in an elusive, secluded mountain summit waiting to be climbed by those willing to make the trek.

On one occasion when Jesus was twelve years old, His parents had lost sight of Him while they had been in Jerusalem for the Passover. “After the festival was over, and his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it” (Luke 2:43). Mary and Joseph had to search for three days to find Him again. But the interesting part of the story is that they, along with others, traveled an entire day before they missed Him. It isn’t that they lost their love for Him or their faith. They just lost Him. If Jesus’ parents can lose sight of Him, then it is certainly possible for us to do the same. When we first come to Christ, the cross is at the center of our faith. When we are busy with life around us – we become distracted, and often our spiritual lives are the first things to go. We don’t have time to read God’s Word. We don’t make time to pray, even to offer a brief thanks. We can’t afford to give anything to God, because we have allowed ourselves to become so preoccupied. When we permit the perks to take the place of essentials, we can easily lose sight of the cross. One wonders if the hymnwriter Isaac Watts was in the position when he wrote the lyrics of his well-known hymn:

“When I survey the wondrous cross, On which the Prince of glory died.
My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride.”

The Apostle Paul said – “As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died” (Galatians 6:14). Just as the photographer went to prove the mountain cross in Colorado existed, we too need to ‘survey’ the Cross! It is important for us to refocus and appreciate its value in our lives when it begins to dim or gets lost completely. Whenever we lose something, we may retrace our steps and ask where we had it last. If we go back to that place, we often find it again. If you’ve found that you’ve lost the sight of the cross in the busyness of life, then you need to find your way back to where you were before. The good news is that even if we lose sight of Jesus, He never loses sight of us.

REFLECTION: Is your view of the Cross of Jesus clear today?  What are those things in your life that sometimes cause you to lose sight of it?  How might you refocus your routine to maintain a clear view?


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