September 14/27, 2002
Feast of The Elevation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross
by Fr. Rodney Torbic
Today the Holy Orthodox Church directs exclusive attention to the Holy and Precious Life-Giving Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Cross is central to the vision of the Church today.
It was to the Cross that Jesus Christ the Son of God went on Great and Holy Friday centuries ago. He Who had taken on human flesh on earth humbly went to death on the Cross. To comprehend the fullness of His sacrifice is beyond our limited capabilities.
To constantly remember the sacrifice of Christ is of absolute necessity for believers. Each believer passed under the Sign of the Cross at Baptism. Each believer "signs" him or herself with the Cross throughout life. Each Orthodox Church has the Cross as part of its architectural construction and liturgical life.
The love of Christ manifested for humanity of all generations is represented in His death on the Cross. It is to the Cross we come as repentant sinners, crying from the depths of our hearts for forgiveness. It is to the Cross we come seeking victory over sin and the daily battle against the demons that are part of daily life.
The Cross is the sign of victory. The Cross signals that though death occurs, Life triumphed. Christ rose from the grave. Christ defeated death. Sinners have hope in the Resurrected Christ. Sinners have hope in the way of the Cross. The way of the Cross leads to salvation.
The Holy Apostle Paul describes the message of the Cross "as the power of God to those who are being saved." (I Cor. 18) We may never fully comprehend the power of the Cross. We may never fully comprehend the sacrifice of Christ in entirety.
As believers we know of the Cross. As believers we know of Christ. As believers we know that Christ died and rose again. We know that without the Cross, there would have been no Resurrection.
Hope for the down and out, hope for those who feel hopeless rests in the Cross. Death did not contain Christ. Sin need not contain sinners. Jesus Christ offers eternal life
Christ said: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live." (Jn. ll:25)
Through the Cross of Christ, we crucify in ourselves the worldly things which distract and deter us from the narrow gate that leads to life. (Mt. 7:14)
Life and love abound in Christ these centuries after His death upon the Cross. Serious believers stay the course in and with Christ throughout their lives "because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life and there are few who find it" (Mt. 7:14)