September 14, 2008

Holy Rood/Cross Day

Today is Holy Cross Day on some liturgical calendars. Rood is the medieval English word for the "cross of Christ".

For me? it's to remember a piece of history and God's entering into our history. Constantine's mother Helena, in her 80's, wanted to visit Israel before she died. She wanted to find the places significant to Jesus' life. Having located what she thought would be the site of Jesus' crucifixion and then burial, she had the Church of the Holy Sepulchre built and it was dedicated September 14, 335.

The story is told, that Helena had a temple to Aphrodite destroyed before building the church, and some crosses were found buried on the site. There's differing tales telling of one of the crosses healing/bringing back to life a woman, so it's believed to be the cross of Christ (or pieces of it).

Helena herself desired to see and touch parts of the world touched by Jesus. As with many things, human nature tends to focus more on relics (souvenirs, buildings, traditions, ways of doing things) than on the One who makes everything meaningful.

As I posted a bit ago, about my curiosity - when did people start praying to Mary?, or I wonder about when the belief of purgatory began and why? ... I read something that has me curious as to the roots of "making the sign of the cross". Scripturally, Ezekiel makes reference to an angel sent to put a mark on the foreheads of the faithful, as well as in Revelation. Tertullian, 211, wrote that Christians seldom did anything significant without making the sign of the cross. There's more to the thoughts, involving Hebrew and Greek words and letters.

But something said by a preacher interests my visual imagination and is worthy of reflection: "Draw an I and then cross it out. As we make the sign, we first draw a vertical stroke, as if to say to God, 'Lord, here am I.' Then we cancel it with a horizontal stroke, as if to say, 'Help me, Lord, to abandon my self-centeredness and self-will, and to make you the center of my life instead. Fix all my attention and all my desire on you, Lord, that I may forget my self, cancel my self, abandon myself completely to your love and service.'"

God values my SELF, loves and died for me, Karey, as ME before getting myself together, and in my returned gratitude and love for Him, I'm drawn into His embrace, and am being made into a 'wholer' self!
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