What’s with the Cross…?

Standing 19 metres tall at what is considered a main ‘gateway’ to our town, is a cross. Maybe the fact it’s located close to what’s known as the Memorial Gates is fitting.

At night the top section of our town cross lights up with the base being ‘invisible’ – hence it’s been dubbed the ‘floating cross’ standing prominently above the tree tops.

Murray Smith

Back in the early 1960s another cross stood in this location. It was a smaller wooden structure lit by conventional bulbs instead of modern LEDs. The bulbs were fair game as target practice for kids testing their skills with home-made slingshots made from a forked stick with stretchy rubber made cut from an old bicycle tube. Those ‘shanghais’, accounted for constant bulb replacements.

Years later another cross replaced the original wooden one. It utilised a  concrete lamppost to elevate the cross and support a flood light to give it prominence. It was removed during council’s upgrade to the new roundabout complex at the junction of Thornton and Victoria Roads with Hamilton Road.

The Memorial Cross shines as the sun comes up in Cambridge. Photo: Mary Anne Gill.

The cross standing there today was installed in November 2018. It was not a straightforward journey getting it there with a number of opinions being expressed regarding any reinstatement. Ultimately a hearing was called by the community board. There, a resoundingly strong endorsement was registered from people of various persuasions. Apart from any ‘religious’ significance, people voiced it had both sentimental and cultural relevance to the town and interestingly, ‘heritage’ value was advocated by many – including a Muslim gentleman who has become my friend.

So today, funded mostly by combined churches in Cambridge, a few private donors and a modest community grant, the Cross stands.

But what’s the special relevance of the cross anyway?  Particularly at Easter, why does a cruel instrument the Romans devised for executing criminals feature so much and why is it a recognised symbol of Christian faith? Crosses adorn buildings and architecture, cemeteries, accident sites, inspire artworks, and very commonly are worn as jewellery.

The Apostle Paul explained in his letters to a first century audience the real meaning of Jesus’ dying on a cross and what set His death apart from any other death by crucifixion. His words remain potent for us all… “If Christ had not died, then risen, your faith would be meaningless and you would remain in your sins.” The earth-shattering reality is – Jesus rose from the dead. Hundreds of His followers attested to that fact as eyewitnesses and paid for it with their lives.

Innocent of wrongdoing, Jesus’ blood was shed. He suffered and died on our behalf making the way for us to be reconciled to God. Christ’s death and His resurrection atoned for the sin of humanity, collectively and individually – our estrangement from God was dealt with, forgiveness has been made possible.

At Easter the cross is a reminder. Personally accepting our need of salvation, we can discover the new life Jesus offers through His death and resurrection.

The Memorial Cross goes in.



More Recent News

A day to learn our history

Community volunteers and Waikato District Council staff are combining their efforts to celebrate an inaugural Waikato District Heritage Day across the district on April 20. On offer is a chance to see inside museums and…

Steamy scenes in S Block

After parting with $3.50, Jake Brugh takes a considered sip of hot chocolate from his large takeaway cup. “It’s pretty good – good value for money,” he says. “It stacks up nicely.” This is Jake’s…

Work on new tech complex starts

Construction is underway on Cambridge Middle School’s $1.8 million technology block, which will allow woodwork and metalwork to be taught at the school for the first time since 2016. Located on Clare St across the…

News in brief

Council backtracks Waipā District Council has taken the proposed blue blob “preferred” position off the table for a third bridge as part of its Cambridge Connections programme following a community storm. The announcement was made…