Wednesday 14 September 2016

Bible Book:

“He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross” (v. 8)

Philippians 2:6-11 Wednesday 14 September 2016

Psalm: Psalm 22


The feast day of Holy Cross Day, celebrated on 14 September, isnot a familiar one to many Methodists, but to our brothers andsisters in the wider Church it is very significant. It is a daywhen the liturgies remind them of the sacrifice of Jesus when hewent to the cross on Good Friday, but also that it was through thatsacrifice that "God also highly exalted him and gave him the namethat is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every kneeshould bow" (vv. 9-10).

In the fourth century pilgrims began to travel to Jerusalem tovisit and pray at places associated with the life of Jesus. Legendhas it that Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor, paying such avisit discovered a cross which she and others believed to be thecross on which Christ was crucified. From then on the cross becamea symbol of faith worn by followers of Jesus and took precedenceover the fish which had been the 'secret' sign until that time.

Whether or not the cross symbol should be that of an empty crossor a crucifix has often divided Christians since that time, I wasonce told very forcibly by a lady in a Women's Fellowship meeting,"we worship an empty cross" when I took along my picture ofSalvador Dali's '  Christ of St John of the Cross' to their meeting. However,a day when we can reflect on the significance of the cross on whichJesus suffered and died, gives us the opportunity to examine ourown discipleship in the lights of the text for the day. Toquote Vicky Beeching's hymn:

"May I never lose the wonder,
the wonder of the cross.
May I see it like the first time,
standing as a sinner lost.
Undone by mercy and left speechless,
watching wide-eyed at the cost.
May I never lose the wonder,
the wonder of the cross."

To Ponder

  • How much does your faith mean to you? If you were broughtbefore a judge and asked to deny your faith to avoid a deathsentence, would you do it?
  • How important is the symbol of the cross, as a talisman, abadge of office, or a place to worship to you?
  • Cross or Crucifix which? Or is there room for both?

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