Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Elevation of the Holy Cross

As God makes clear through his prophet Isaiah, not all religious rituals are equal: not all are holy, not all have the power to make holy. Condemning Israel’s vain fasting, God asks:

6 Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke,to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? 8 Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly;your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard. 9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am (Is 58:6-9).

As the church elevates and exalts the cross of Christ this day, we do well to listen for prophetic words once again.

Is this not the elevation of the cross that I choose:
to take up your own cross – to lay down your own life – and follow me?
Is this not the exaltation of the cross that I choose:
to have within yourself the mind of Christ,
who, being in the form of God,
did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
but made Himself of no reputation,
taking the form of a bondservant,
and coming in the likeness of men?
And being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death,
even the death of the cross.
Is this not the elevation of the cross that I choose:
to be crucified to the world and for the world to be crucified to you?
Is this not the exaltation of the cross I choose:
to boast in nothing except the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ,
to know nothing but Christ and him crucified,
to embrace the foolishness of the gospel of the cross
– a foolishness wiser than men --
and the weakness of God – a weakness stronger than men?

The Elevation of the Holy Cross is far more than the commemoration of an historical event and more that a great feast of the church. It is a commitment to a cruciform life and a cruciform death, in the certainty of a glorious resurrection.

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ was lifted
high upon the cross that he might draw the whole world to
himself: Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery
of our redemption, may have grace to take up our cross and
follow him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

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