A Word about the Readings
by Father Gethin
(The readings may be found here)
Our Sanctification, which is our spiritual progress into the life and goodness of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaches us what it means, when St. Paul proclaims, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The Cross of our Saviour’s agony is the well-spring of our glory: it is not merely an aweful trial that we recall with a kind of fearful anguish, knowing our wickedness as its root and cause; nor does the gallows of our Lord’s misery fall back into the distant past of an ancient and divine act of mercy; the Cross always stands before us, and leads us on our pilgrimage through time, from death to life, as the emblem of our hope and courage, and the promise of our final peace and blessing.
But surely, we may say, our glory is the empty tomb, and the brave new light and life of Easter? Surely Victory is our prize? And so it is, but victory is not the gilded thing our earthly minds too soon imagine. Victory, liberty, peace, the gracious sweep of paradise, all take their place for us, first and last, in sacrifice, in the offering of the Lamb, the gift of heaven’s hospitality that suffers all our mortal darkness, to bear to us its light.
Therefore, says Paul, “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” Our hope does not rest in the empty forms of some new and better human project, not in temples made with hands, nor any labour formed by wit or craft, but in a new and gracious birth, proved by passion, and by blood, life for life, of Him whose flesh is meat indeed, whose blood is our Redemption.
‘The world,’ it is said, ‘is too much with us’; it teaches us to measure worth with cash and life with busy-ness. It tells us we are honoured in our command of power, and dignified in our appearances of beauty. It gives us length of days, but no friend to share them. And so, brothers and sisters of our Saviour, as we more discover Christ, we come more and more to glory in His Cross: where our life pours from His side; where our strength flows from His patient suffering; where our dignity rests in His humility; where our beauty is formed in His wounds, and where our story is His love befriending us. “Therefore I say unto you, Be not anxious about your life… But seek ye first the kingdom of God.” God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world crucified unto me, and I unto the world.