Mother Hubbard's Cupboard

A look into the mind of one of the most random, crazy people in all the land.

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Location: East Peoria, Illinois, United States

A Lutheran seminarian eagerly awaiting the return of Our Lord. Soli Deo Gloria!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Holy Cross Day Thoughts

Scripture: Old Testament-Nehemiah 1:1-2:10
New Testament-1 Timothy 1:1-20
Pslams: Morning-13
Evening-36, 5

Icon: Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Troparion of the Afterfeast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: "Oh Lord, save your people, and bless Your inheritance. Grant victories to the orthodox Christians over their adversaries. And by virtue of Your Cross, preserve Your habitation." (Yes, I changed the "o" in Orthodox to lower case).

Kontakion of the Afterfeast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: "As You were voluntarily raised upon the cross for our sake, grant mercy to those who are called by Your Name, O Christ God; make all orthodox Christians glad by Your power, granting them victories over their adversaries, by bestowing on them the Invincible trophy, Your weapon of Peace." (Same as in the Troparion).

Thoughts: For some reason, I really wanted to celebrate this feast of the church. I don't know why. I didn't do the prescribed fasts of the churches that hold this feast in high regard. I didn't read the Passion narratives in the Gospels to prepare myself for the festival...and I didn't even find a Lutheran church in the area to celebrate this feast. Instead, I thought upon the prayers for the sixth and ninth hours from the Orthodox church...the only church I desired to go to that celebrated this feast (for some reason I would choose to go to an Orthodox Divine Liturgy over a Roman Mass, but that's just me).

The sixth hour daily troparion reads: "O You Who on the sixth day and hour
Nailed to the cross the sin which rebellious Adam committed
in Paradise,
Tear asunder also the bond of our iniquities,
O Christ our God, and save us."

It is amazing that Christ hung on a tree to undo the sin that Adam had done by eating from a tree in Paradise. Now, through this act, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life become one in us. The serpent did not ultimately lie, as through this act of compassion and humility on the part of God, He gives us eternal life in Him and yet we retain the knowledge of good and evil....we have in a sense, by grace, "become like God" with moral knowledge and still with eternal life.

"Here the King of all the ages, throned in light ere worlds could be, robed in mortal flesh is dying, crucified by sin for me."-Cross of Jesus, Cross of Sorrow, LSB 428 v. 2

It was at the ninth hour that the Roman centurion saw the crucified Christ and believed on Him. What better message to set men's hearts Ablaze!(tm) than this clear message of Christ and Him crucified?

You, like St. Luther may not like the story of the finding of the true cross, but such a story does not need to be true for us to appreciate the original story of this act of ultimate love, mercy, and grace on God's part for us. We celebrate today the weapon God used to conquer sin and flip the events of the Fall. Now, it is the New Adam who does right with a tree where Eve originally did wrong. He crushes the head of the Serpent/Satan in the presence of His mother, the New Eve who stands in sorrow at the horrible suffering and death of her son and her God. In the end, I would say it is sad that most Lutheran churches have forgone this feast, and many like it, which allow for the proclomation of the whole counsel of God by recognizing the guidance of the Holy Spirit in time and acknowledging that "the gates of Hell shall not prevail against His (Christ's) church."

Afterthought: I was pondering the passage where God desires all men to come to the knowledge of Him (1 Timothy 2:4). I looked, and lo and behold, there is not a part of the Litany to my knowledge that has a petition in this manner.

"For those who are still in death and darkness, we pray you to bring them to repentance and the knowledge of you by the power of Your Holy Spirit so that Your will may be done." Or something like that.


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