Sunday of the Holy Cross

7 Mar

This third Sunday of Lent is the Sunday of the Holy Cross.  I really enjoyed what was in our Church’s (Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church) bulletin this morning.  It certainly explains, far better than I can, what we celebrate this Sunday:

On the Third Sunday of Great and Holy Lent, the Orthodox Church commemorates the Precious and Life=Giving Cross of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  Services include a special veneration of the Cross, which prepares the faithful for the commemoration of the Crucifixion during Holy Week.

As we have “crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24), and will have mortified ourselves during these forty days of the Fast, the precious and life-giving Cross is now placed before us to refresh our souls and encourage us who may be filled with a sense of bitterness resentment, and depression.  The Cross reminds us of the Passion of our Lord, and by presenting to us His example, it encourages us to follow Him in struggle and sacrifice, being refreshed, assured, and comforted.  In other words, we must experience what the Lord experienced during His Passion –  being humiliated in a shameful manner.  The Cross teaches us that through pain and suffering we shall see the fulfillment of our hopes: the heavenly inheritance and eternal glory.

As they who walk on a long and hard way and are bowed down by fatigue find great relief and strengthening under the cool shade of a leafy tree, so do we find  comfort, refreshment, and rejuvenation under the Life-giving cross, which our Fathers “planted: on this Sunday.  Thus, we are fortified and enabled to continue our Lenten journey with a light step, rested and encouraged.

Moreover, as the Holy Cross is called the Tree of Life, it is placed in the middle of the Fast, as an ancient tree of life was placed in the middle of the garden of Eden.  By this, our Holy Fathers wished to remind us of Adam’s gluttony as well as the fact that through this Tree has condemnation been abolished.  Therefore, if we bind ourselves to the Holy cross, we shall never encounter death but shall inherit life eternal.
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The normal service was followed by the procession of the Holy Cross on a tray surrounded by daffodils.  At the end of the service we all received flowers from the tray from our priest.

Adeline was enthralled by the procession and thrilled by the two flowers she received from Fr. Jim.  I still am always struck by the beauty of Orthodox worship, our worship.  The history, tradition, and truth never cease to move my spirit as it approaches the body and blood of Christ.  I am grateful for this tradition, this tangible reminder of the Holy Cross and passion of Christ, during the middle of this Great Lent as our family prepares for His resurrection .

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One Response to “Sunday of the Holy Cross”

  1. pam and paul kimmel March 8, 2010 at 5:32 am #

    It really does sound like a beautiful service. What a lovely flower, I’m sure Adeline does love it.

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