The Solid Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio, celebrated the dedication of a new 52-foot statue of Jesus on their campus this past weekend. Called Lux Mundi ("Light of the World"), the statue replaces one that was struck by lightning two years ago. Nicknamed "Hug Me Jesus," the lighted statue depicts Jesus standing with open arms and stepping forward in an embracing gesture. It towers over nearby Interstate 75.
The statue's Facebook page explains that the statue symbolizes "love and peace." The sculpture was designed by Tom Tsuchiya with Design Dynamics, Inc., who was inspired for the design of the statue by passages in Matthew and John referring to agape (“affectionate love”) and exousia (“authority").
During the dedication service, Tsuchiya said, "What you see is the embracing symbol of Jesus’ love and his commandment that we love one another as he has loved all of us."
Pastor Lawrence Bishop II said to a standing ovation from the capacity crowd: "One thing we can give you at Solid Rock is Jesus with open arms ... Solid Rock Church says to the world, 'We give you Jesus Christ!'"
The Community Press & Recorder reported that the dedication ceremony was held on the one-year anniversary of the death of their pastor, Lawrence Bishop. Members said the statue was "the pastor's dream." The report also told of protestors who stood across the street from the church during the ceremony, calling through bullhorns that the statue was a "graven image" and was originally struck down because it violated the Second Commandment.
The Solid Rock Church currently has 4,000 members.
"We're so afraid of failure. Sometimes it's a reflection on us, and we don't want to fail ourselves because if our kids fail, we fail."