Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Morning Prayer Guide - Wednesday

Holy Cross Day

Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.

Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Read: Isaiah 45:21-25, Psalm 98, Philippians 2:5-11, and John 12:31-36a

Holy Cross Day is one of several celebrations throughout the year which focus on the cross itself.  This is the oldest one, dating back to ad335.  Legend has it that St. Helena, the mother of Constantine, discovered pieces of the true cross in Jerusalem while she was on a pilgrimage there.  A church was built on the spot, and nine years later it was dedicated on September 13th, 335.  The next day, the relics were brought out of the church so people could pray before the true cross. This is the basis for the holiday.

While it is doubtful that the legend is true, Holy Cross Day does give us an opportunity to consider Christ’s work on the cross as a part of our salvation.  Without the cross, the resurrection is meaningless, and without the resurrection, the cross is just another tool of torture.  Further, when we allow life with all its sickness, suffering, and excuses to interfere with our walk with Jesus, we crucify Him all over again.

Jesus calls to us from the cross, “Follow me.”  Will you?

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the cross that he might draw the whole world to himself: Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, may have grace to take up our cross and follow him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

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