St. George
Serbian Orthodox Church
Carmichaels, PA

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 joyous Resurrection.

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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