Exaltation of the Cross

The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, celebrated every year on 14 September, recalls three events:

1. The finding of the True Cross by Saint Helena Mother of Emperor Constantine

2. The dedication of churches built by Emperor Constantine on the site of the Holy Sepulchre and Mount Calvary.

3. The restoration of the True Cross to Jerusalem in AD 629 by the Byzantine emperor Heraclius, after it had fallen into the hands of the Persian Emperor Chosroes II in the AD 614 Sasanian conquest of Jerusalem.

Under Emperor Constantine, around AD 327, Bishop Macarius of Jerusalem caused excavations to be made in order to ascertain the location of Calvary as well as that of the Holy Sepulchre. It was in the course of these excavations that the wood of the cross was recovered. It was determined by Macarius to be authentic (the crosses of the two thieves were also recovered) and for it Constantine built the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.

The feast was observed in Rome before the end of the seventh century. However, the earliest recorded commemoration of 14 September as the feast day on a Western calendar is from the 7th century A.D.

What does the cross mean in the Bible?
Cross, the principal symbol of the Christian religion, recalls the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the redeeming benefits of His Passion and death. The Cross is thus a sign both of Christ Himself and of the faith of Christians.

What is adoration of the cross?
Adoration is a sign of devotion to and worship of Jesus Christ, who is believed, according to Christian tradition, to be present in body, blood, soul, and divinity, under the appearance of the consecrated host, that is, sacramental bread.

Why and How do people look at the Cross
People look at the cross for various reasons. For many it is a religious symbol that reminds us of the sacrifice Jesus made. For some it is a piece of jewelry and for others it is something used for interior decoration.

I would like to share five things the cross can teach us.The cross teaches us that sin will separate us from God. Isaiah 59:1, 2 says our sin separates us from God. Romans 5:8 says God showed His love to us while we were yet sinners. You see, Jesus was separated from God because of our sin and its consequences.The cross also teaches us about forgiveness. According to Hebrews 10:10-18, Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice for sin for all time. The cross teaches us that forgiveness takes sacrifice even on our part towards others.The cross teaches about success. Jesus’ death might be considered a failure today. Yet, in John 19:30, as he was dying, Jesus said, “It is finished.” You see, He succeeded in His mission to do God’s will. A Christian’s success is accomplished by doing God’s will.The cross teaches us a course about love. In John 15:13 Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus taught us about love by freely dying on the cross for our sins. Jesus says in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”The cross teaches us about Jesus’ drawing power. Jesus says in John 12:32, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” And Paul states in 1 Corinthians 1:18, “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Jesus died on the cross to draw us to Him for salvation.” We need to remember that the power is not in the cross but it is a reminder of what happened there and why. The power is in the gospel; the good news about Jesus. He came from God to teach us how to live. He died. He was buried. And He arose alive from the grave. It is not the cross that draws us to God but, rather, the Christ who died on the cross.

– By Gladys Da Silva (Ward3)