Meskel (The Feast of the Holy Cross) Part 8

This article is prepared by Mahibere Kidusan USA Center

Therefore, the Cross, through which all these are secured:

Is Our Strength

Christ, through whom the power of God was revealed, did His redemption by being crucified on the Holy Cross, as it is stated in 1 Corinthians 1:18, "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." Hence, the Cross upon which our Lord’s holy body was sacrificed and precious blood was poured is venerated on account of Christ. For instance, on Palm Sunday many were spreading their clothes on the road for the colt in honor of Christ. (Matthew 21:8). So, for us who believe that Jesus Christ is the Only-Begotten Son of God and is wholly and perfectly God within the unity of Godhead, the Cross, which is honored due to Christ and on which His power was revealed, is our strength to beat the devil. This is because our Lord beat the devil with the Cross as it was said, "He shall bruise your head" early on (Genesis 3:15). There are events that happened in the Old Testament to symbolize this: When Moses, the senior of prophets, was praying with his arms stretched out on either side in the form of a cross, the Israelites were strengthened and had victory over their enemies. We, who are referred to as "Israel in spirit", too gain victory over demons by the power of the Cross. Father of the 12 tribes of Israel, Saint Jacob, blessed Joseph’s offspring having being filled with power when he stretched out his arms in the form of a cross (Genesis 48:13-20). We also find blessings for our body and soul by the power of the Cross.

Our archenemy, the devil, has tried everything to snatch the Cross out of our hands—the Cross on which he was defeated at Calvary early on and later at the Church where Christ’s body and blood is consecrated everyday as it was once and for all done at Calvary. While we kiss the Holy Cross and thereby get blessings, there are some who say, "Isn’t it just wood? Why do you kiss it? Why do you bow before it?" However, our Church believes in the power of Christ and does not give a chance for the encroach-ment of doubt through saying, "this is wood, this is just a piece of cloth, and this is only water" as this would be contrary to what is written in the Scripture:

* The rod of Moses has done a lot of miracles be-cause God’s power was on the rod (Exodus 4 through 14);

* Elijah’s mantle has parted the river Jordan not once but twice because God’s power was on his mantle (2 Kings 2:7-14);

* The river Jordan has cleaned Naaman of his lep-rosy because God’s power was on the river (2 Kings 5:1-14);

* The sick were anointed with oil and healed be-cause of God’s power (Mark 6:13, James 5:14);

* The power of God was demonstrated when the blind man got his sight back after washing in the pool of Siloam (John 9:1-12);

* A piece from Saint Paul’s clothing healed many who were sick and demons were casted out through it because the power of God was on his clothing (Acts 19:11-12);

* Saint Peter’s shadow fell on the sick sitting on the sides of the street because God’s power was on his shadow (Acts 5:15). Thus, we need to be cautious so that we do not find ourselves at odds with the owner of the Cross, Christ, saying things that are not of the Cross. This is because being an enemy of the Cross is being the means for the fulfillment of bad prophecy. Regarding this, the apostle Saint Paul said, "For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly , and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things."(Philippians 3:18-19).

Therefore, as the prophet David prophesied early on, "Thou hast given a token to them that fear Thee, that they might flee from the bow. That thy beloved ones may be delivered" (Psalm 59[60]:4-5), we should steadfastly hold-on to our sign, which is the Cross that our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ sanctified and honored with His blood and gave to us so that we can flee from the bows of the devil and be saved. We should boast in the Cross saying as Saint Paul said, "But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." (Galatians 6:14). There are those who accept the Cross only as a symbol; nevertheless, to us the Cross is our strength, salvation, redemption, and de-liverer of our soul.

We shall now see why we observe Meskel (Feast of the Holy Cross).

Please proceed to Part 9