On June 14tha bolt of lightning struck Solid Rock Church’s 62-foot statue of Jesus that was an iconic symbol for motorists on the I-75 highway. The fire from the statue spread quickly to the church amphitheatre. Damages are estimated at $700,000.
“Touchdown Jesus” and “Big Butter Jesus” were names both fondly describing this statue by its residents because of its appearance. The statue’s arms raised in victory was seen parallel to a referee’s motion after touchdown in football. “Big Butter Jesus” is a song written by Heywood Banks describing the statue’s resemblance to molded butter.
Onlookers were quick to point out that the Hustler sign across the street was spared from the fire and likened the lightning strike to a direct message from God. “God struck God…I like the irony,” pointed out one by-stander who came expressly to see the fire blazing near midnight local time.
Obviously, the statue meant a lot to its residents. It was a landmark; it was something they claimed as Dayton’s heritage, not only the church’s property. If they poked fun at how it looked, then it was within their rights to do so. It was a shared community experience, one that the people of Dayton collectively had in common. That the statue was a representation of Jesus is almost beside the point.
As Christians, we know that Jesus doesn’t reside within a statue or a temple or a picture. God does not secretly prefer Hustler over Jesus, nor is He trying to condemn this statue as idolatry. We cannot claim to know God’s message to us through a lightning strike. We have His message already, written out, word for word in the Holy Bible.
Cassie Brown, a member of the Solid Rock Church, said it best by reminding us, “The statue can be destroyed and gone, but Jesus can’t be.”
Touchdown, Cassie Brown.