First Lutheran – Little Rock, Arkansas
— Contributed by Joline Kaucher & Nate Brandes
They say “a picture is worth a 1,000 words”. We use this hand-built wooden cross during Lent, Holy Week and Easter Sunday. From Jesus’ Crucifixion (above alter) and His Resurrection’s Blessing of faith and eternal life as shown by the beautiful live flowers on His vacated Easter Cross – “It Is Finished”.
Our wooden cross came to be during the 1989 Lutheran Layman’s League’s International Convention held at the Convention Center in downtown Little Rock. Joline Kaucher provided the details of the cross in an article at the convention. But as the famous radio commentator, Paul Harvey, would say: “And here is the rest of the story”.
The theme of this Convention was “Build On The Rock”. Joline, being the convention’s “Decorations Coordinator”, came up with the theme display idea of having a large wood cross sitting on top of a rock pile, with a decorative arch overhead. Now we know that the featured cross was built by brothers David & Ted Kaucher and that today it still stands in our worship services as our Lent & Holy Week “Rugged Cross”, and our Divine Easter Sunday Flowered Resurrection Cross.
For the development of the cross’ base ‘rock pile’ Joline came up with a very unique idea. For the convention’s promotional announcement information Joline asked that all attendees bring a rock to the convention with their name and contact information on the bottom of the rock. And at the end of the convention everyone would come by and pick up a different rock from the pile to take home. This action would provide the means for everyone to have a contact buddy to extend ‘post-convention conversations and prayers’ with.
Joline stressed that every rock in the pile was different and unique from the others; some were bigger – some were smaller, some were beautiful and some were, well, not so beautiful. She wanted her pile to reflect exactly how we, too, are unique as well as different from each other when it comes to possessing our Blessed Gifts of Talents from the Holy Spirit.
In looking back, Joline believes there must have been about 700 – 800 rocks in that convention pile! And now, “The Rest Of The Story!”
The convention has closed and Joline & David are on a hotel elevator going down from their room. They still had their convention name tags on. The elevator stops and another couple steps in, also with their name tags on. As the elevator starts down with the two couples aboard the lady looks at Joline’s tag and with a surprising tone say’s: “Joline, I believe I have your rock! Joline, now starring at this lady’s name tag, shouts back: “I also have yours, no way!” The couple was from Indiana and they stayed in contact for many years following.
Joline describes this happening as “God’s Divine Coincidence”! Out of 700+ available rocks! And upon exiting the convention to come together on an elevator! Why it just has to be so!