IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES, THE WORST OF TIMES
Joshua 1:9 and Psalms 23:4
Brothers and Sisters,
This week is a very important Holy Day that I always find to be so unique. On Friday, we will celebrate the Exaltation of the Most Holy Cross. This Feast Day is exactly what it sounds like: celebrating the very thing on-which Christ suffered and died. It is a day highlighting the means through-which God Himself was expelled from physical existence on Earth.
It seems odd, doesn’t it? It seems out of place. Maybe we could further wonder why the Christian symbol of the Cross is so pervasive. If the Cross was so awful, so terrible a thing, then why do we use it as the primary symbol of the Holy Faith?
The whole reality of the Crucifixion is filled with dark (in fact very dark) irony. The Passion (that is the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ) is simultaneously the worst and best thing that ever happened on Earth, it was both the best of times and the worst of times.
From the very first sin of Adam and Eve all the way through your and my most recent sins, the Cross was on its way – it was inevitable. The death of Christ was the only solution from the very instant of the first sin. Recall that our pain is not only our personal sins, not only original sin that is passed on to us through our parents, but the sins of others have a real effect on us as well. This is part of the reason that Christians work hard to convert others to the Holy Faith and step up to confront other Christians when they are acting immorally: the sins of others cause us pain. Even the sins of others far who whom we have never met bring a pain to us – increasing the sea of sin to push aside the virtue that ought to be there.
The Crucifixion is then both the result of sin and the solution to sin as well. At the Crucifixion of Christ, the devil rejoiced to see humanity reject God and even deny His divinity – the same actions of the devil many millennia before. Yet at the same time, the humility of Christ in taking on the role of servant even though He is the Eternal High Priest and King of the Universe was the counter-measure. The Cross, thought to be the blunt object strong enough to take down Almighty God, is revealed to be a tool bother fashioned and wielded by Christ to complete a construction project: salvation.
Celebrate by making sure you have a cross on you (like a necklace or a palm-cross in your pocket. Look around your home and make sure that you have a Crucifix in each room in your house. Remember that the terror of the Cross is ironically the overshadowed by Christ’s willingness to take our sins away.
God be near,