The Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross
The cross really is a contradiction in how we think. It only takes a few minutes of contemplation to rouse our emotions. A few minutes of thought and we begin to ask questions. Even trying to understand the history of cross is confusing. The first reading is a symbol of the cross that Jesus is nailed. The seraph hints that God can use the instrument of death to bring life. Bitten by a seraph, which could cause death, one only looks at the seraph on the pole to receive life. Even in Genesis, the serpent tricked Eve into eating the fruit of tree, which entered death for all people. But when we look at the tree used to crucify Jesus, we are given new life, eternal life.
The Holy Sepulcher is the church now over the location of Christ’s crucifixion. There were two other churches built over that site, both previously destroyed by Muslims. Tradition holds that Constantine’s mother found this site and the actual cross used to crucify Christ. This all happens 350 years after the crucifixion.
There are many different types of crosses. A cross with the body of Christ is known as a crucifix. But there are crosses with a floating Christ in front of the wood with arms lifted, known as the Resurrection Cross. Many Protestant Churches have crosses but would not think of having a Crucifix, too gory. Many Evangelical Churches do not have a cross at all, it is too embarrassing. So, what is the purpose of the cross?
I would suggest that we think of the cross as a symbol of glory. It is the instrument that God chose to give us eternal life that had been lost millennia ago. The reason we have the body of Christ, the corpus, on the cross, is to acknowledge that there is a price to be paid for this glory. It is also to remind us that to gain this glory given to us by God that there will be suffering and pain to be endured. Just like the Hebrew people would look to the mounted seraph after being bitten, we need to look to the cross and accept the Son of God into our lives. We not only need to be changed outwardly but our inner person must be changed. That brings us back to the start of this little essay. It only takes a few minutes of contemplation to realize the love God has for each of us. Spend a few minutes with God today.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen