Family sedans, motorcycles, RVs and tour buses greeted us at the parking lots and nearby surroundings of what is becoming a popular travel spot.
Most of the Lone Star State may not be as prone to political correctness or acceptance of mainstream media guidance as California, New York or say, Massachusetts.
But Texas still enjoys a good battle or two when it comes to religious matters.
In the last couple of decades, Texans have succeeded royally when fighting to erect religious symbols and artworks along her highways. Some of the results include a 190-foot cross rising over the Panhandle plains on Interstate 40 near Groom.
➕There’s a 100-foot cross and visitor center in Ballinger, Texas, on the Colorado River northeast of San Angelo.
➕Thanks to Greg Abbott and Ted Cruz, who fought the battle In the Supreme Court, the Ten Commandments remain in prominent public locations, including in the grounds of the State Capitol.
➕Way up North in a place called Effingham, Illinois, a nearly 200-foot cross marks the roadside spot where travelers can stop and hear the Ten Commandments projected from large, rock-shaped speakers.
Regardless of your religion, if you have any spirituality in you at all, a good place to visit is high chunk of earth located in the Texas Hill Country. It just so happens there’s a 77′ 7″ hollow metal cross erected on top of a hill located approximately half way between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, at the same latitude as Israel.
We visited the cross recently after listening to a sermon from our high school friend Pastor Jack Comer, Jr. near Easter time.
The land surrounding this particular cross, gave Dodie and l a feeling of peace and comfort. Of course, the view from the top of the Hill Country is incredible.
“We believe this garden will be used by God to reach the unchurched,” Max Greiner told The Christian Post in 2010. “The people that just go down the highway and the byways will see this cross and the other sculptures and will be drawn in by the Holy Spirit to a quality, family art exhibit and garden and in the process see the gospel.”
Now known as The Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden, it’s prominently located right off IH-10 at Highway 16 near the main entrance to Kerrville. It has become the Texas Hill Country town’s most popular year-round tourist attraction.
People from every state in America, and at least 80 countries have already visited the 24.5 acre garden.
Even the RVing community and charter buses are learning and stopping in from across the country to see the monumental artwork, enjoy the rustic native Texas landscaping and great views from the top of the 1,930’ hill.
Along the pathways there are 77 16-inch tiles with gospel messages embedded that lead visitors to the $2 million cross. The scripture verses from the gospel are in three different languages – English, Spanish, and German. These languages were chosen because of the large population that speaks them in the region.
On Good Friday, this year, we read and listened to the wise sermon of Comer, the pastor of Circle Drive Baptist Church in Bridge City, Texas (about 400 miles east of Kerrville on IH-10). He discussed the Cross of Jesus Christ in a way that I had never realized before.
“The day has arrived for the one who was born to die, to die,” he began. “And even though you may be a life long student of the Bible and have followed Jesus all your life, or if you have given your life to Christ just this week, the thought of Jesus dying is painful. The one who knew no sin, the one who was innocent of any crimes: voluntarily dies for humanity.”
“Nothing has been devised that is as tortuous as a cross. It was the worst form of pain and suffering and ultimately, suffocation, ever devised.”
“It was designed not just for pain but to degrade the person suspended there, elevated before everyone naked. It was such a horrendous mode of death, that only the worst of criminals were ever found on a cross.”
According to Comer’s research, “around the time of the dying of Jesus, there were, according to some historians, at least 30,000 crucifixions in that part of the world done by the Romans. And when they crucified somebody, they did so in public places, usually along highways so as you traveled along the roads in the land of Israel you were literally surrounded by people who were dying or dead, hanging on crosses.”
“It has always been interesting to me that this instrument of torture has become a symbol of all that is precious to Christianity,” Comer continued. “The cross is found in the form of jewelry and even hangs in decorations for our home. It has found itself in art, like the painting by Jacob Jordeans who painted the crucifixion in 1622. The cross crowds our cemeteries as it marks the graves of love ones. But if someone was transposed in time from the 1st century to today and saw the many ways in which we use the cross, they would be astounded.”
“You see, it would be like us wearing an electric chair around our neck. It is a symbol of death. But because of Jesus, yes, because of Jesus; the cross has taken on a new meaning.”
Comer wrote about Travis Plumlee, “a dedicated servant of God who went to various churches and held Christian seminars that focused on the home.”
Plumlee had visited Comer’s church several times and is “with the Lord today, but when he went into public places and saw someone wearing a cross necklace he would ask this question. ‘Is that just a piece of jewelry to you or does it mean something?’ That is a great question to ask, so allow me to ask you. The cross that you wear, the decorative cross that hangs on the wall in your home, does it really mean something to you or is it simply an object for your friends to see?”
The Gardens in Kerrville are fast approaching an estimated 150,000 people visiting annually.
Early on, some of the more prominent supporters of the Sculpture Prayer Garden included Mike Huckabee; Dr. James Dobson; Franklin Graham; Pat Robertson; Rick Warren; Drs. Bill Bright and Oral Roberts.
Today, over $2,500,000 worth of monumental sculptures are on display at the garden, making it the most expensive fine art collection in the area. Greiner’s sculptures have been collected by Jack Nicklaus, George W. and Laura Bush and Billy Graham.
“Visitors come 365 days a year from 7:00 AM to midnight, to experience the peace, power and presence of God Almighty at the non-denominational Christian art garden,” some of the literature available on site reads. To the surprise of many guests, the garden is not a church or ministry. It is an art museum, owned and operated by The Coming King Foundation (TCKF), a non-profit, 501c3 foundation created in 2004 to bless Texas and the world.”
Admission to the Gardens are free. The Kerrville and Hill Country community is very inviting to motorcyclists, RVers, and tour buses.