The numbers are staggering. 315 nations visited. 38,000 miles walked. 76 million steps putting over 16 billion pounds of weight on the feet of one Arthur Blessitt, the man who carried a cross 1.5 times around the world. "This wood," he says, caressing a pitted, dented, darkened beam, "is my friend."
The Cross, directed by Matthew Crouch, gives Blessitt a platform with which to tell his story in his own words. Perhaps the plural "stories" is more accurate, because it's as if even Blessitt himself can't grasp the enormity of his endeavor. His mission from God, which began 40 years ago, can only be expressed through the thousands of people whom Blessitt encountered, each of whom made a lasting impression on his heart.
As a fresh-faced, hopelessly conservative young man, Blessitt heard about the burgeoning hippie movement and headed straight to Southern California to win hearts for Christ. He began passing out tracts and preaching the gospel in Griffith Park, where his sincerity led him to be dubbed "The Minister of Sunset Strip."
Blessitt built a vibrant ministry reaching out to the poor, the disenfranchised, and the criminal, but in 1968 everything changed, when he says God told him to pick up a cross—a physical cross—and carry it to the ends of the earth. Puzzled but amazed, he accepted the call, only to suffer a near-fatal aneurysm shortly thereafter. In the hospital, he was told that he should refrain from physical activity, so he figured he would have to give up his task. But then he had a profound realization: "The circumstances don't alter the call." Off he went.
The Cross opens by following Blessitt through New York City's Union Square, as he drags his cross (it's wheeled, to save on wear and tear) up to various ...1