Sunday, September 07, 2008

Holy Cross Day

This weekend we celebrate the Victory, or the exaltation of the Cross.

It has often seemed to me a matter of great wonder that an action of such pain and suffering and brutality should have become the subject of some of the most moving artworks, and some of the most poignant music in the history of humanity.

In the first few centuries, Christians were so appalled by crucifixion that they never portrayed it in art. Yet the cross was a constant theme of prayer and reflection. St Paul talked of glorying on the cross of Christ. St John, in today's Gospel, clearly sees the cross, the resurrection, anf the ascension all as one - the raising up of Christ. In the second century, St Justin, points out how the plough, the ship's sail and even the form of the human body echo, in God's creation, the form of the cross.

And so for us the cross is sign of hope, sign of refemption, sign of victory because it welds together two interwoven truths of our faith - suffering and salvation.

We are saved through his suffering, and when we suffer, he suffers with us.

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