by J.R. Beatty


Walking with my wife in 2008 along a dirt trail on a hill near the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, FL, I spotted and captured this old, fallen tree to the right of the trail. Appropriately, I saw some wild vines with sharp thorns present! (Click on photo)

I thought it had been cut down by a human’s chain saw – leaving a clear, unexpected picture in its heartwood that immediately reminded me of the "Old Rugged Cross" of Jesus Christ. As a boy in church and school I had sung that old song many times, memorizing the words to all stanzas and chorus.

Miraculously, the end of this fallen tree was facing towards the trail, - its face in an upright position - so all who came by could clearly see this "Good News" reminder of Jesus’ Soul-Saving, Love-in-Action for the entire World's populations! If the tree end had faced in another direction away from the trail, perhaps no one passing by there would ever have seen this 2000-year-old visual message. And my photo would not have been captured for others to see it either.

Close Up

Then, looking even closer, I saw that there were curved "rays" emanating from the center of the Cross going outward in all directions. They looked like an unexplained, powerful, supernatural display or some unknown remnant, gravitational energy phenomena!

Then I saw the little cleared section at the bottom of the tree's picture. It reminded me of THE Narrow Path that leads to the Foot of the Cross where all mankind must spiritually kneel in Repentance from OUR Sins against God and man - with Faith in Jesus' Perfect, Sin Cleansing Redemption of our Souls! And note the small spirit-like form you can just see kneeling at the foot of the cross! Amazing!

Einstein's Space-Time Continuum Plane
Einstein's Space-Time Continuum Plane

Recently, on PBS I learned more about the invisible gravity force all over the Universe that bends light around large objects. And the vast amount of invisible "Dark Matter" that warps changes in Einstein's Space-Time Continuum plane.

Did this old rugged tree represent and depict the awesome, invisible Love Power of Jesus Christ that holds up this old Earth and ALL other visible and invisible objects spinning through space?

This picture of the falling down of this old tree is a part of God's Will and a Message to all mankind! This "just-by-chance" (not really) photo and story is now a spiritual inspiration for my life and even my photography and writing! But, I must ask, what does God want us to do with this, His visible display and His hymn message for today?

Well, we can still rejoice in reading the words and hearing the music of this great old church hymn written by Methodist evangelist and song leader George Bennard in 1912 over 100 years ago:

"On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame,
And I love that old cross where the Dearest and Best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above,
To bear it to dark Calvary.

In the old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine
Such a wonderful beauty I see
For 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died
To pardon and sanctify me.

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true,
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He'll call me someday to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I'll share."

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.