FRIDAY THE FOURTEENTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2018
* Holy Cross Day *
O God, who did will to hallow the standard of the life-giving Cross by the precious blood of your only-begotten son; grant, we beseech you, that we who rejoice in honouring the same holy cross, may rejoice also in your ever-present protection. Through the same Christ our lord. Amen.
O cross of Christ, immortal tree on which our saviour died,
the world is sheltered by your arms that bore the crucified.
From bitter death and barren wood the tree of life is made;
its branches bear unfailing fruit and leaves that never fade.
O faithful cross, you stand unmoved while ages run their course;
foundation of the universe, creation’s minding force.
Give glory to the risen Christ and to his cross give praise,
the sign of God's unfailing love, the hope of all our days.
( "The Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal" )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Holy Cross Day: the beautiful, terrible cross
Today Saint Laika’s celebrates Holy Cross Day, sometimes known as the Triumph of the Cross. The story that has come down to us from history and legend is that Constantine, the first Roman emperor to profess Jesus Christ as lord, sent his mother Helena to Israel in the first decades of the fourth century, to discover the places that would have been sacred to the Christian people. It was there that she was supposed to have found preserved the true cross of Jesus, on the site which today houses the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Church was dedicated and opened for service on the fourteenth of September, 335 AD.
Over time, today’s feast came to be seen as a counterpoint to Good Friday. It gave Christians a time to celebrate the Triumph of the Cross as a sign of God’s victory.
Malcolm Boyd had the occasion to write the following as a reflection on the cross. It comes from his book: “Are You Running With Me Jesus.”
They've made the cross you hung on so pretty, Jesus.
I know the real cross wasn't pretty at all.
But I guess I understand why they want to make copies of it
out of fine woods and even semiprecious stones,
because you hung on it.
Yet doesn't this romanticise your death, Lord,
and give it a kind of gloss it didn't have?
Your death was bloody and dirty and very real.
Can't we face it that way, Jesus?
And can't we face the fact that you were a real man,
living a human life, as well as God?
Scripture: In the sixth chapter of "Galatians" at the fourteenth verse, we read:
May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
... for peace in the world.
... for the Church in Jerusalem; for the custodians of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; for pilgrims searching for a tangible memory of Jesus Christ in the Holy Land.
... for those who are mourning the death of a friend.
... for the safety of prison staff.
... for those killed or injured when gunmen attacked a cinema in Nigeria's north-western Zamfara State. DETAILS
... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.
... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
... for ourselves.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
From a discourse by Andrew of Crete:
We are celebrating the feast of the cross which drove away darkness and brought in the light. As we keep this feast, we are lifted up with the crucified Christ, leaving behind us earth and sin so that we may gain the things above. So great and outstanding a possession is the cross that he who wins it has won a treasure. Rightly could I call this treasure the fairest of all fair things and the costliest, in fact as well as in name, for on it and through it and for its sake the riches of salvation that had been lost were restored to us.
Had there been no cross, Christ could not have been crucified. Had there been no cross, life itself could not have been nailed to the tree. And if life had not been nailed to it, there would be no streams of immortality pouring from Christ’s side, blood and water for the world’s cleansing. The legal bond of our sin would not be cancelled, we should not have attained our freedom, we should not have enjoyed the fruit of the tree of life and the gates of paradise would not stand open. Had there been no cross, death would not have been trodden underfoot, nor hell despoiled.
Therefore, the cross is something wonderfully great and honourable. It is great because through the cross the many noble acts of Christ found their consummation (very many indeed), for both his miracles and his sufferings were fully rewarded with victory. The cross is honourable because it is both the sign of God’s suffering and the trophy of his victory. It stands for his suffering because on it he freely suffered unto death. But it is also his trophy because it was the means by which the devil was wounded and death conquered; the barred gates of hell were smashed, and the cross became the one common salvation of the whole world.
The cross is called Christ’s glory; it is saluted as his triumph. We recognise it as the cup he longed to drink and the climax of the sufferings he endured for our sake.
As to the cross being Christ’s glory, listen to his words: "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and in him God is glorified, and God will glorify him at once."
And again: "Father, glorify me with the glory I had with you before the world came to be."
And once more: “'Father, glorify your name.' Then a voice came from heaven: 'I have glorified it and will glorify it again.'"
Here he speaks of the glory that would accrue to him through the cross.
And if you would understand that the cross is Christ’s triumph, hear what he himself also said: "When I am lifted up, then I will draw all men to myself."
Now you can see that the cross is Christ’s glory and triumph.
O God, who by the passion of your blessed son made an instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life and peace: grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your son, our saviour, Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
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