Since the altar is stripped and the paraments are gone, the wood of many altars, lecterns, and pulpits are fully exposed. Wood reminds you what took place on the tree of the cross, where your Lord once died. Jesus’ cross brings peace, forgiveness, and salvation. By it, the lives of Christians are rescued, sweetened, and lightened. We reflect upon these familiar words of “The Old Rugged Cross” penned by American composer George Bennard in 1912:

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering 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.