Legend has it that St. Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, discovered the cross in AD 326 on a trip to Jerusalem. On the spot that she discovered it, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was founded. September 14 commemorates the date of the church’s dedication.
Holy Cross day differs from Good Friday in that it is specifically the cross that is celebrated. It may sound odd to celebrate an inanimate object. Yet, it is a symbol central to our faith. Martin Luther described his theology as “theology of the cross.”
The cross reminds us of the lengths to which God is willing to go to be reconciled to humanity. The cross is the place where God accomplished the work of salvation. The cross is the sign of God’s triumph over death.
The cross itself is not the thing to be worshipped, but is a powerful and enduring symbol of God’s redemptive work.
God of the cross, in the place of sin and death, you showed us new life. Amen. — EP