Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow me.”

Someone at The Battery followed at least the first part of that instruction in the hours before sunrise on Easter. A wooden cross, about 8 feet high and 6 feet wide, was displayed along The Battery railing last week to let people know about a 6:45 a.m. Easter service hosted by St. Michael’s and First Baptist churches, said the Rev. Al Zadig Jr., rector at St. Michael’s. On Easter, it was to serve as a backdrop for the service, which was attended by several hundred people. But it went missing — for the third time in six years — between Saturday night and 4 a.m. Sunday, he said. A few years ago, the cross was impounded by the Charleston Police Department and two years ago it was thrown in the harbor.

“This time we don’t know where it is,” he said. “We’ve looked. We called police. It’s just a sad, kind of sinful thing to do. ... Life and worship will move on stronger, but it’s something that should make a community sad.”

The churches would like the cross returned.

“We are a people of hope and forgiveness,” he said. “If someone would just bring it back, we’d forgive him.”

Anyone with information is asked to call St. Michael’s at 723-0603.