The Cross has become for many in our society a pretty object, a decorative item: some, but by no means all, may see it as a symbol of Christianity but not unquestioningly so. It has become a background image, sometimes worn as a sign of faith yet by others as a symbol of opulence.
In the first century Roman Empire it was not so. A cross stood as a symbol of barbaric cruelty—a method of extreme torture and execution It was a warning from Caesar, “obey us or face the same fate.”
But St Paul, together with the other Apostles, turns this around.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.1 Corinthians 1:18
And this is utter foolishness to the world, a complete folly. A symbol of death has become the means by which we achieve Life. The Apostle goes on,
For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.1 Corinthians 1:22–25
Our Gospel, the Christian Gospel, is truly radical. In a world where royalty and commoners, rich and poor, die alongside each other we claim the Resurrection—as a physical and bodily reality. Christ’s rising means that you and your actions have an effect long beyond the confines of our earthly life: you and I have eternal value, eternal worth, eternal dignity.
This has consequences because not only do you and I have eternal value, so does each person we meet. All whom I meet I have the possibility to recognise the eternal worth inside them, to see their dignity and honour them by serving them; because my Lord died for them that they might have life I should act in no other way.
In our world where so many people suffer we must be the ones to offer love, joy and happiness to our society, we must serve our society as servants of all. And this may be folly to the world, just as the Cross is folly to the world, yet “the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
Join in with this service, accept your own cross that by it you may come to true knowledge of the Father, through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, one God, Amen.
At Babel (Genesis 11:1–9), mankind sought to build a Tower that the Most High might be brought down to Earth: and God, who had already promised to our Forefather Noah that he would not again destroy all flesh (Genesis 9:8–17), instead scattered the nations and confused the tongues. God cannot be brought down, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, by the power of men but only by his own Grace.
“No one has ascended into heaven,” says the Lord to Nicodemus, a pharisee and ruler of the Jews, “but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven.” God cannot be forced into action, cannot be compelled down: but Christ, the Son of Man, has voluntarily come down and dwells among his people. Yet I, like the Children of Israel, have allowed snakes into the camp.
“And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.” (Numbers 21:5–6)
Through my sin—my own murmuring against God—he has temporarily removed his protection and cobras and vipers have entered the camp; through my own sin I expose myself to death. And in this crisis, this choice, I can continue my murmuring—even as catastrophe continues around me—or, like the Children in the wilderness, I can look to the living God.
Services this week
Friday 16th September
No online meeting this week
Saturday 17th September
Vespers, 6.30 pm
At St Francis’ Hall, Eastleigh
Sunday 18th September
Divine Liturgy, 9.30 am
At St Francis’ Hall, Eastleigh
Online session is via Google Meet: please get in contact for the details.
Please join us: all are welcome, come and see.
We will be meeting at St Francis’ Hall, Nightingale Avenue, Eastleigh, SO50 9JA. Come and See.
Can I help you?
I am here for you, you need only ask. Is there a way I can support your life of faith? Get in touch.
Can you help the mission?
Yes, absolutely. Offer yourselves to the Lord: pray! Make available to him all your talents and ask him how he would like you to use them — listen for his reply.
With love in Christ