“Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim, ‘till all the world adore his sacred name.”
Yesterday was one of those days. You may know the type—can’t really wake up, feeling clunky, forget what you are doing, etc. I forgot to get my annual blood test until after I had my coffee so it will have to wait until Monday. Note to self: “Put a sign on the coffee pot.” Sitting down to write, I found myself doing everything but writing.
It has been one of those weeks, too. I have been pondering many things—our recent train trip to visit my mother and family, the weird weather we’ve had this year, new beginnings-school starting, new classes to attend or teach, and church choir resuming after summer break, etc.
My pondering is not exactly thinking; it’s more about noticing. It’s about awareness. I have been pondering the state our planet, trouble in the nation and the world, the anniversary of 9/11, many everywhere crying out for peace where there is no peace, for help when it appears that there is little help to be had. I wondered to God what he was thinking and feeling when an image appeared—God’s tears falling with the rain or maybe the rain is the tears of God. I feel helpless to make a difference—to wipe those tears. And yet…..
“Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim, ‘till all the world adore his sacred name.” These are the words from the song of our Order—The Daughters of the King. Holy Cross Day which the Church commemorates on Monday – September 15 this year, has been observed in our Christian tradition since the fourth Century. Many traditions, especially the Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions celebrate this day. Although it is on our liturgical calendar, most Episcopalians don’t make a big deal about it if they even know it exists, but perhaps we should.
We don’t like to think of the crucifixion of Jesus except in fairly cleaned up images. We know it was for our salvation, but sometimes, we are even confused about what that means. We would rather skip over the cross except during Lent, with maybe a little more emphasis on Good Friday, if we have to. Although the cross is an instrument of torture and execution, Jesus willingly chose to go there for our good because of his great love for us. We must not stop here, though, because Jesus did not. Easter has its story as well and as Christians, we celebrate the empty cross.
I like this quote from Theodore of Studios, an abbot and monastic reformer who died in 826. “How splendid the cross of Christ! It brings life, not death; light, not darkness; Paradise, not its loss. It is the wood on which the Lord, like a great warrior, was wounded in hands and feet and side, but healed thereby our wounds. A tree has destroyed us, a tree now brought us life.”
We, the Daughters of the King, proclaim this by wearing our cross (instead of a habit), on our chests. The baptismal rite also reminds us that we also wear the cross on our brow—“You are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ’s own forever.” There is an answer for the “whys” that we ponder. There is an answer for the pain of the world and our own pain. There is an answer for violence and hatred. Jesus came to bring it and he also tells us, if we listen, what we are to do to join him in his work. Lift your cross high on the 15th, dear ones. All, not only Daughters, are invited and encouraged to participate. Love Wins! Celebrate!
Stay blessed, ~ Donna