“If I Am Lifted Up…”

images-28September 14 marks the commemoration of the rediscovery of the Cross of Christ in Jerusalem in the fourth century. This feast day is known as the Elevation of the Precious and Life Giving Cross in the Orthodox Church. For the Christian, the Cross of Christ is always and every day to be understood as precious and life giving. As it was elevated in Jerusalem by the city’s patriarch, St. Marcarius, so today’s 21st century Christian is to elevate the Cross in his or her consciousness. Further, the Cross is not to comfort, but to challenge, to alarm, and even offend — even more, to bring about death. St. Paul writes of this: “The message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but for those who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor 1: 18).

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By This Sign Conquer!

September 14 commemorates the Elevation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross, or commonly known as the Feast Elevation of the Crossof the Holy Cross in the western church. In short, Emperor Constantine sent his mother, Empress Helen, to the Holy Land to find the Cross of Christ in Jerusalem in the year 326. The site was nearly forgotten due to the shameful desecration at the hands of previous pagan emperors. But, by Helen’s actions and those of the Patriarch of Jerusalem, St. Macarius, the site was located and the Cross of Christ was identified. Once again the Cross of Christ was elevated, but now to be venerated by the faithful.

However, St. Constantine had his own encounter with the Cross when he was a younger man, and not yet a Christian. Read the rest of this entry »

Life-Giving Grains

In the twelfth chapter of St. John’s gospel we read these words of Jesus:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless the Grain of wheat falling into the earth should die, it remains alone. But if it should die, it bears much fruit.” (John 12: 24)

grainsJesus says these words as he enters into the very last days of his earthly life in human flesh. His betrayal, trial, and crucifixion await him. The Grain of Wheat dies and is entombed. Three days later he rises from death in a glorified physical body. His death leads to the fruit, the new Grain, of eternal life for all who place their faith in Christ and follow him.

Our knowledge of the Eucharist should make us think of the eucharistic Bread when we read John 12: 24. Jesus is the Grain. In His resurrection all life is  Read the rest of this entry »