Elim Church

Painting the Cross 2019

We started a new tradition in 2018, painting the big metal cross in the courtyard at Elim. Why do we do this?

to bring attention to the cross

Northeast Minneapolis arts district has many old church buildings have either been abandoned or repurposed for various reasons including use by congregations of other religions.  We were discussing this in a meeting when someone asked “are there any crosses on the outside of the building that might designate Elim as a Christian church?” We all scratched our heads. No? Yes? Idk? There aren’t many, maybe on the stained glass?  Then, all of the sudden — oh, yeah, there’s a big metal one in the courtyard! It’s brown color had simply blended in all these years. We seek to bring attention to the cross (not just Elim’s cross) that Jesus bore for us.

to tell the gospel story

The cross is a symbol that has been reinterpreted over and over again, first by the original Christian movement and later on by empires and societies largely in the western world. The cross is everywhere, but often it simply blends in and loses its meaning. The cross is both beautiful and ugly — simultaneously hideous and liberating — equally revolting and attractive. In the Christian story however, the old rugged cross, the instrument of shame and humiliation becomes the starting point for God’s beautiful plan of salvation. Starting a conversation about the beauty of a tool of execution is thought provoking and mysterious.

to give glory to Jesus

Jesus is the one who made the cross (a human invention of misery and pain) beautiful. That’s a reality too easy to forget. The cross is so ripe with meaning that we need a new angle, a new story, and a new conversation in the season following Resurrection Sunday. In some ways we are doing what the disciples did in the 40 days after Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection — reflecting on and processing the meaning of it all. We are not venerating a metal object, we aren’t creating art to be cherished, bought or sold, we aren’t bowing to to a creation of human hands, we are giving glory to the one who by shedding his blood made the cross the single most incredible statement ever made. God loves us so deeply and completely that Jesus shed his blood for us, that we may know him, believe and have life.

Join us in 2020 during Art-A-Whirl weekend, where the Elim Kids ministry will be our featured artists!

~ Pastor Paul

Celebrating the Painting of the Cross (2019) by Kari Nelson in the Elim Courtyard after Service on June 2, 2019  Inspired by the Poem “Jesus Christ the Apple Tree”


1. The tree of life my soul hath seen,
Laden with fruit and always green:
The trees of nature fruitless be
Compared with Christ the apple tree.
2. His beauty doth all things excel:
By faith I know, but ne’er can tell
The glory which I now can see
In Jesus Christ the apple tree.
3. For happiness I long have sought,
And pleasure dearly I have bought:
I missed of all; but now I see
‘Tis found in Christ the apple tree.
4. I’m weary with my former toil,
Here I will sit and rest awhile:
Under the shadow I will be,
Of Jesus Christ the apple tree.
5. This fruit doth make my soul to thrive,
It keeps my dying faith alive;
Which makes my soul in haste to be



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