When driving through the Texas Hill Country — west on I-10 or south on State Road 16 from Fredericksburg — the eye-catching, 77-foot tall hollow steel structure appears on the horizon as you reach Kerrville.
This magnificent sculpture, called “The Empty Cross,” is located on a rocky hill overlooking the town in The Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden.
(Keep scrolling to see the video of our visit!)
But this isn’t the only thing to see. The cross anchors a 100-yard long, tree-lined concrete path in the shape of a cross. Along the garden trails are eleven awe-inspiring sculptures, original works by artist Max Greiner. According to the website, seven sculptures are bronze, three Cor-Ten steel (including The Empty Cross), and one made of stones from the Guadalupe River.
We made our second trip to the garden this weekend. Our first stop this visit was at the gift shop, just inside the entrance. A glimpse of what to expect is to the right of the gift shop. “Mary, the Mother of Jesus” sculpture rests under the shade of some Texas oak trees. She clutches the crown of thorns worn by Jesus at the cross and reaches out her hand as though inviting you into what awaits.
The uphill drive continues to two parking areas (including a drop-off area), where the “Lion of Judah” majestically surveys the hill country. From there, only a few steps to the beginning of the garden.
“Fishers of Men,” a life-size sculpture of the risen Jesus, greets visitors at the beginning of the walkway. Here you see a perfectly aligned vision of “The Coming King” and “The Empty Cross.”
Constructed with the famous Texas white stone, the garden has a rugged beauty, with flowers and trees planted among the rough Texas Oaks and rocky ground. The Texas terrain resembles the feel of what Israel’s landscape could be like.
At the center of the garden is the title sculpture, “The Coming King.” (See it in the first photo above.) This magnificent life-sized bronze piece portrays “Jesus Christ returning in glory at the end of time, as a mighty warrior and king.” The artist depicted Christ “with fire in His eyes, a Shofar in one hand and the Sword of the Spirit in another. His robe is blown black and on it states in Hebrew: LORD OF LORD AND KING OF KINGS.” (website)
Continuing to the left of “The Coming King” is God’s Rock Garden. This landscape of white rocks with handwritten prayers or memorials for loved ones follows the tradition of the prayers on paper tucked into the rocks of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. White rocks are provided for visitors to write their own messages.
The garden is designed with pockets of places to find a quiet spot to pray or simply sit, allowing the area’s peacefulness to wash over you. Even if there are several visitors, a quiet atmosphere still exists, with people speaking in hushed tones and allowing privacy to those praying inside the cross. (If a more serene, private visit is desired, stop by the garden on a weekday.)
A visit here should not be rushed. As in an art museum, time is needed to observe the extraordinary details and absorb the stories of the sculptures.
Even on the mountaintop, the garden on Benson Drive is not hard to reach. After turning off State Road 16, the garden is about ¼ mile down the road. Hours are 7 AM to Midnight daily. Restroom facilities are available across from the gift shop and at the back of the garden. Bring a Sharpie to write a message for the Rock Garden, (although there are some available in the gift shop) and I recommend that you take water; there is no vending at the site.
3 responses to “The Coming King Sculpture Garden in Kerrville, Texas”
[…] was on our latest trip to Kerrville, Texas, that we visited the place where this amazing craftsmanship […]
What a beautiful place! Thanks for the awesome tour, wish I was in Texas!
We will be visiting Texas soon and may check this out. Thanks.