The Collect of the Day

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost / Proper 19

O God, because without you we are not able to please you, mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct
and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and
for ever. Amen.

Vicar's Voice

Jesus said to the crowd, “Now is the time for judgment of this world. Now this world’s ruler will be thrown out. When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to me.”

John 12: 30a, 31-32 (CEB)

This past week we commemorated Holy Cross Day at our Thursday Noon Eucharist. For many of us at St. John's, this particular feast day has special significance. The Daughters of the King and we graduates of Bexley Hall Seminary share a common motto: "Magnanimiter crucem sustine," or "Courageously lift the cross." Our shared hymn is "Lift High the Cross," which we sang boldly at the burial services of both Mary Lou Carson and Karen Smith Steele this year.

The Cross has always been a focal point for our Christian worship, our common symbol that we wear and share with others, and a source of inspiration and assurance of faith. It is also a very tangible image that recalls the sacrifice Jesus made for creation as a whole and humanity in particular. His words in the Gospel of John resonate with each and every one of us, as he asserts that his lifting up from the earth on this instrument of suffering transforms the cross to a source of power and presence. Jesus' power from the cross removes the power of earthly powers from their seats, topples the structures of hatred and intolerance, and demands that we accept both God's judgement and God's love.

Twice this week, this reading from John has broken through the noise on the same day (both at Daily Morning Prayer and Thursday Noon Eucharist). Perhaps, when we notice that the Message is shared multiple times, we need to attend to it. What I hear is that the Cross is the source of our salvation and liberation; that we cannot blame evil when evil, in Jesus' own words, has been driven from this world. Some say that Satan's greatest accomplishment was in convincing the world he did not exist. I say that his greatest accomplishment was in convincing the world that he has not been driven out of existence by the power of the Crucified Christ.

A price has been paid; a sacrifice has been made. Isn't it time we accept Jesus as the Regent of Creation? Isn't it time that we heed the call to magnanimeter crucem sustine?

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Shawn