Feast of the Holy Cross 2013

Apolytikion of the Holy Cross

Lord, save Your people and bless Your inheritance, granting our rulers to prevail over adversaries, and protecting Your commonwealth by Your Cross.

Kontakion of the Holy Cross

Lifted up on the Cross by Your free will, Christ God, grant mercies to the new commonwealth that bears Your name. Gladden our faithful rulers by Your power, giving them victories over their adversaries. May Your alliance be for them a weapon for peace, an invincible standard.

Isaac Watts hymn on the Cross (Refrain only)

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

Beginning tonight at Great Vespers, we began to celebrate the The Elevation of the Venerable and Life-Giving Cross. Roman Catholics and Anglicans call this The Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Lutherans call it Holy Cross Day. Anabaptists and the descendants of the non-conformists have no such day, but they most certainly have an uncountable number of hymns about the Holy Cross.

What is clear is that all of Christianity looks at the Cross and knows that what happened at the Cross, and even the Cross itself, are necessary parts of Christianity. Some sign themselves with the Cross. Some only wear the Cross. But, interestingly enough, in both cases there is an understanding that the Cross itself is powerful.

Christ’s dying on the Cross sanctified the Cross in such a way that it is a powerful symbol, powerful in a way that few other Christian symbols are (such as Holy Water). The power of the Cross has even crossed over into secular culture, sadly into Hollywood horror movies, particularly vampire ones. It is only as this culture has become more secular that the idea that the Cross is powerful has been removed from the movies.

The Cross is, in some ways, our doorway to heaven. We must be crucified to it in order to die and be reborn into a new and heavenly life. Our imitation of Christ, our becoming like Christ, must include the Cross and all that it means, in order for us to be transformed into the likeness of Christ.

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