Serbian Orthodox Church
The Feast of Elevation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross - 2005
by Fr. Rodney Torbic
We come at this time to the Feast of the Elevation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross.
Attention is centered on the Crucified Christ with full knowledge of His glorious Resurrection.
We have the benefit of knowing of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. Imagine the
thoughts and feelings of the followers of Christ at the time of the Crucifixion.
They did not have the certainty of the Resurrection we have.
Imagine the thoughts and feelings of the followers of Christ during the period
the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.
We are blessed with all the Holy Orthodox Church teaches us about the Crucifixion and
Resurrection. We are blessed by the Divine services of the Holy Orthodox Church founded in
and communicating the message of the Cross and Resurrection.
At Holy Baptism we experience the Cross and Resurrection. Every Wednesday and Friday is
dedicated to the Cross. Every Sunday celebrates the Resurrection. If we look, the Cross and
Resurrection are always before us.
We have a responsibility to make good use of the knowledge we have. We have to participate
in the Divine services in appreciation for the sacrifice of Christ and in appreciation of His
With the identity of being Orthodox Christian comes the responsibility of living as
Orthodox Christian. It means following the rules...all of the rules we are fully capable
of following. It means honoring the fasts throughout the year to the best of our abilities.
Being an Orthodox Christian means reading the Holy Scriptures with due diligence to learn
about the Lord Jesus Christ, to learn about the Holy Trinity, to learn about the Holy Apostles,
to learn about the Holy Prophets, to learn how to live today in a most difficult world.
As Serbian Orthodox Christians, our history is replete with accounts of believers martyred
for Christ. We have a responsibility to live with dignity, with love, with prayerfulness in
recognition of the sacrifices made for Christ.
Christ went to the Cross for us. Because we know of the Crucifixion, our lives should
fully reflect love and honor for Christ. Our homes should fully reflect and honor that love.
Our relationships should fully reflect and honor love for Christ.
Christ rose from the dead giving hope to all feeling hopeless. Christ rose from the dead
inspiring individuals facing despair. Christ rose from the dead bringing light out of darkness,
joy out of sorrow.
As we bow before the Precious and Life-giving Cross, let us lift up our hearts
and minds to Christ. Let us repent of our sins and seek the Kingdom of God.
The Holy Orthodox Church celebrates the Feast of the Precious and Life-giving Cross every
September. We think about the finding of Christ's Cross. We think about Christ suffering upon
that Cross. We think about the crosses that exist in our own lives.
We cannot imagine with accuracy the pain and suffering Christ experienced upon the Cross.
We cannot with accuracy know the pain and suffering any individual experiences.
We can think about the suffering of Christ. We can think about the suffering of others.
We can think about our own suffering.
From the Cross, we can draw hope. From the Cross, we can find direction. From the Cross,
we can draw strength.
The love of Christ extends through the centuries to each person willing to accept and
acknowledge Christ's love. The love of Christ reaches to the hearts of all persons willing
to open their hearts to Christ.
Today we turn our thoughts to the Cross. Today Orthodox Christians around the world gather
and focus attention upon the Cross of Christ. In the troparion of this feast, Orthodox
Christians seek victories over adversaries.
Most of our adversaries are within ourselves. The overwhelming majority of battles we must
fight are in our hearts and minds. We must fight the battles in the hearts and minds that Christ
prevails in our hearts and minds. We must fight the battles in our hearts and minds that Christ
prevails in our homes, in our families, in our communities.
The way we live as individuals, as Orthodox Christians, determines the end we will face.
We must be true to ourselves. We must be true to Christ. We can do no more. No more is expected.
Being an Orthodox Christian is an enormous responsibility. Being an Orthodox Christian
requires an enormous effort. Each us must do the best we can for Christ. Each of us must do
the best we can for the salvation of our souls.
We know of the mercy of God. We know of the goodness of God. We know of the forgiveness
of God. When we come to God seeking mercy, we should be doing all we can to live in ways
pleasing to God. When we come to God seeking forgiveness, we need to be forgiving.
We need to be repentant. We need to be serious and resolute about following the path of Christ.
The path of the Cross is not an easy path. The path of the Cross is a narrow path.
Our Lord tells us "the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life,
and those who find it are few." (Mt. 7:14)
Today and each day we chose the path we will follow. Let us follow the path of Christ.
Let us deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Him. (Mt. 16:24)
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