Moments of the Cross

The week of the Cross marks an essential change in Lent. This is the moment when we turn from descriptors of faith to faith itself; when we move from things which are about our faith to things which can only exist through faith.

Faith is a tool for life eternal, and to use it for anything else is a deadly waste. We are Christians for this reason only: so that we may survive death. All else is secondary and of no importance by comparison. The Cross – in Lent and in our lives – marks the moment when we see our faith for what it really is: either a Divine tool for life eternal, or a human tool to create nice, moral citizens of this world. There is nothing wrong with being nice and moral, but history has known billions of nice and moral citizens whom death has eaten alive. It is a deadly corruption of a Divine gift to reduce our faith in Christ to anything else except a sure hope in the Resurrection. It is deadly, because it corrupts the only chance we have to survive death.

A moment of crisis, a death, a disease, abandonment – when these come, life is cut in half: life as it used to be before them, and life as it is revealed to us now. Facing the Cross has this effect on us because we train ourselves well to reduce our faith to things which are not of the faith. When we reduce our faith to a set of customs, those customs will not carry us through a moment of the Cross. When we reduce our faith to any human value – social, political or moral; a philosophy or idea; anything created by our brain – when our faith is diluted to things of this world, the Cross will crush everything in its way.

And thank God that it is so! Thank God for the gift of the Cross, for this chance to see how we corrupt our own faith, so that we may start anew while we still can, and approach faith as a means to walk on water, not on the pavement. This is no longer about us looking at Christ walking on water – this has now become about us stepping outside the boat and walking alongside Him. The Cross marks this moment in Lent, just as it marks it in our lives – those moments when we can no longer function on logic, on the things we have been taught; those moments when things get real and the theory of it all is no longer sufficient to help us survive.

3 Thoughts.

  1. So very beautifully written Father Seraphim and to the very heart of everything. I think what you said about us stepping outside the boat and walking alongside Christ is such a helpful way to understand the week of the cross. It helped me very much as I am new to Lent. Thank you!

  2. Dear Fr Seraphim,
    Thank you, as ever, for this meditation, which cuts to the quick and comes direct from Christ. -Unable to visit friends because of snow and a winter cough, etc., this week has turned today into one of prayer-preparation for major surgery next Monday, which itself introduces Holy Week. I ask for your prayers and those of your readers both for regaining of full health this ‘pre-op’ week, and for (in the words of one friend) ‘an impeccable outcome’ to the surgery. A ‘word of the Lord’ given me in December has been my daily strength; please pray that I may hold to it and be held by Him. It feels like following Christ – with Christ – on the path to surgery and health.
    With great gratitude for your ministry of writing. Warmly in Christ, (Fr) Philip.

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