Reviewing the Cross: the Arthur Blessitt Story
In the Old Testament, we read of some very out-of-the-ordinary requests that God makes of people. The prophets Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Elijah, Elisha: if we could talk to them today, all could share stories that we would consider simply bizarre by our standards. Does God call people to do similarly “strange” things today? What does that look like? Why do we think they are strange?
These are the thoughts I had when watching “the Cross: the Arthur Blessit story,” a documentary about Arthur Blessit, a man who has committed his entire life to Jesus. Certainly, that has looked different for different people. In Arthur’s case, it led him to be awarded the Guinness World Record for “Walking – the Greatest Documented Lifetime Mileage.” As of 3/19/17, Wikipedia lists him as an “American pedestrian circumnavigator,” which falls a little short of the truth and leaves out an especially key fact.
In 1969, after a short stint of ministry in Hollywood during the beginnings of the Jesus Movement, Arthur constructed a twelve-foot long, six-foot wide cross and began walking across the United States with that cross. In 2008, thirty-nine years later, he completed his journey to walk through every nation and major inhabited island group. During this journey, the documentary shows Arthur evangelizing all along the way. He boldly–and literally–carries his cross through jungles, remote villages, cities, and warzones, facing disinterest, opposition, and many who mock what he is doing. Notably, he also gets and gives encouragement to fellow Christians across the globe.
Why does Arthur do this? (Yes, as of March 2017 he’s still walking with his cross today at the age of 76). He humbly speaks of the call of God on his life to do so. His refusal to be swayed from methodical, step by step obedience to God’s call is inspiring to watch. What is even more extraordinary and encouraging to watch than the miraculous works that God has done for him (and there are many), is how Arthur lives day-by-day in communion with God.
Full confession: until watching the Cross: the Arthur Blessitt Story, I had never heard of Arthur Blessitt, which is hard to believe since I grew up in church my entire life. How did this happen?? Then again, maybe it does make sense that it wasn’t talked about. It’s the kind of thing you don’t really know what to do with it. Indeed, at first glance it’s hard to draw parallels to your own life because it seems so extreme. Arthur himself doesn’t see it that way, though. He’s just obeying God.