RE-DEDICATING OURSELVES TO THE CROSS
(Wednesday, September 27)
“Before Your cross, we bow down in worship, O Master, and Your holy resurrection, we glorify.”
Today, when we on the Older Calendar celebrate the great feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, and physically “bow down” before it and kiss it, we’re reminded that the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ is a physical and historical reality. Just as our own cross-carrying journey is a physical and historical reality, accomplished daily in real time and space, not only “spiritually.” We re-dedicate ourselves to the Cross daily, by putting one foot in front of the other; by suiting up and showing up for our loves and responsibilities; balancing healthy self-care of our bodies and souls with service to others; and humbly staying alert to the presence of God throughout it all, as He guides us daily into the new freedom and new happiness that breaks into our lives on this Way, of the Cross.
Note in this context that the feast of the Exaltation on September 14/27 is preceded by the lesser-known feast of “The Re-Dedications” or “Renewals” (τῶν Ἐγκαινίων, обновлений) of the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem on September 13/26. The feast of “Renewals” is formulated thus, in the plural, as are certain important mysteries in Hebrew, including the name of God, e.g., “Eloh*im*,” and “The Day of Atonement*s*” (Yom HaKippur*im*, commonly abbreviated to “Yom Kippur”), pointing to the profound meanings of this feast. It is not only about the “re-dedications” of the holy places in Jerusalem in the early 4th c., (which echoed the “rededication” of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 164 BC under Judas Maccabeus), when Empress Helen removed the pagan temples that had stood at these sites for several centuries and erected churches there instead. The feast is about *our* re-newals and re-dedications of ourselves, as temples of the Holy Spirit, to a life in Christ, or a life of Christ in us, on a daily basis. “Be dedicated anew, O people!” we sing in one of the hymns at the Vespers of this feast, “Putting away the old man, live in newness of life…”.
Today, as we physically “bow down before” the Cross and “glorify” or make glorious, through our ever-renewed lives in Christ, His resurrection, let us make a new beginning. Let us trample death “by death”; by walking in faith through our challenges, great or small, and not avoiding them in fear. Thank You, Lord, for dignifying us with the challenge of Your honorable cross, and resurrection!