A 77-foot-7 inch, 70-ton steel cross erected on top of a Texas hill country summit located in a 23-acre religious sculpture garden was inspired by a message from God, says the artist.
Kerrville, Texas resident and Christian artist Max Greiner Jr., 58, spear-headed a massive steel cross project after being told by a pastor in Austin “that he would be a part of building a sacred structure”.
The project, which cost $2 million and took 9 years to complete, was inspired when Greiner, along with his wife, Sherry, traveled to Austin in 2001 to hear Mahesh Chavda, “who was known as a prophet of God” and who was guest speaker at the Cathedral of Praise.
According to the Statesman.com,
“In front of an audience of about 300 people, Chavda turned to Greiner and said, ‘You are going to be involved in the restoration of the tabernacle’.”
After receiving this message, Greiner turned to his wife and said, “God’s not going to rebuild the tabernacle. That guy is nuttier than a squirrel.”
Eight months later, Greiner received an email from Beaumont businessman Marlon Quibodeaux to let him know, from all the artists researched on the internet, he was the one God had chosen to build the colossal cross.
However, it took prayer and “a vision of a 300-foot-long cross-shaped garden, a giant cross and cars turning off the highway” for Greiner to see the significance of Quibodeaux’s message.
In 2002, without any idea of where the cross was going to be erected, he sketched his vision. Greiner described it “like being pregnant but being unable to deliver”.
It was not until 2003 that he came upon the 400-foot summit for the 77-foot-7 inch cross. “I was sitting at the intersection of Texas 16 and Texas 534, and the Holy Spirit said: ‘Look up, I’m going to give you that mountain," said Greiner.
Hershel Reid, who had purchased the 23-acre property for $500,000, donated it to Greiner’s nonprofit organization, The Coming King Foundation, in 2005.
Things kept falling into place for Greiner. Because the land was 20 feet outside the city limits, building permits were not required.
Met with strong opposition by Kerrville residents, a lawsuit was filed in 2008 claiming the land where the foundation erected the cross was not intended for commercial use.
The lawsuit was settled when both parties agreed to the construction of a 6-foot privacy wall in order to prevent an estimated 1,000 daily visitors from driving through the neighboring subdivision.
In a Statesman report, Greiner said "Nobody ever heard of this Kerrville garden until the attacks came against us to stop it. Now it's been raised to international prominence, and millions know. God brings good out of the bad."
Still, Greiner feels his mission is not yet complete. Through his nonprofit organization, he hopes to raise enough money to finish the garden.