Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 52 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Monday, September 14, 2015

Holy Cross Day - Rector's Rambling for September 13, 2015

September 14th the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Cross.  Although it sounds funny to us to have a church holy day based on an item, it fact we celebrate that item for what it accomplished for us!
Historically, this Feast Day is founded on the story of St. Helena, while excavating for the building of the first Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, finding the cross on which our Lord died.
But what is most important is what was accomplished upon that wood.  A common Roman execution method for non-Roman citizens, crucifixion was painful and shameful, on purpose.  The public nailing of one to a tree at the gate of the city was an example to others of what would happen if you went against the authority the Romans had taken upon themselves.
But for us, and for our salvation, Jesus Christ died on the cross.  He went willingly (after all, as God, Jesus could have certainly called a legion of angels to take him down) because he did so as a sacrifice for our sins!
Sin has a price to be paid, and although until Jesus it was done by blood sacrifice of animals in a symbolic way, Jesus paid the price for our sins in a real, tangible way.  And in doing so has accomplished our salvation once and for all.  He was a one, sufficient sacrifice offered for the sins of the whole world.
Also, he has sealed a NEW covenant, which isn’t sealed in the blood of circumcision or animal sacrifice, but in Jesus’ own blood.  All this was accomplished through the cross, which is why celebrate Holy Cross Day.

Faithful Cross, above all other,
one and only noble Tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom,
none in fruit thy peer may be;
sweet the wood, and sweet the iron,
sweetest weight is hung on thee.

V.H. Fortunatus (d. 569)
Translated by John Mason Neale