On Holy Cross Day (September 14), we honor Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. We thank God for Jesus’ willingness to endure a tortured death for our sakes. Centuries later, this day might also be set aside to observe the (holy) cross-bearing of those who sacrifice their well-being for the sake of others.
This day could mark the suffering of anyone whose life is filled with sorrow—who carry the agonies of ill-health, oppression, poverty or disregard. But the day’s observance seems more connected—as a time of remembrance—to people whose souls are filled with the kind of love that focuses on caring for others. Far away or near-at-hand, these saints take up the ongoing tasks of caring, no matter the cost.
The examples are everywhere I look: Home care workers, family members of those who are dying, those who maintain refugee camps. Children or siblings of loved ones who can no longer care for themselves. Pastors, social workers, medical personnel—reaching far beyond the usual dimensions of their professions to extend life-giving attention to those in need. Law enforcement officers who, under constant duress, protect all of us from danger. Who deliver us from evil….
Self-giving can be lonely, tiring and spirit-draining. Few of us know the full extent of the personal sacrifices—the crosses—of those who may put their own welfare in continuing jeopardy so that we can eat healthy food, heat our homes, prepare for bad weather or travel safely. Self-giving may come with their careers, but these individuals still deserve our thanks and prayers.
I’m going to pause to do that today: Acknowledge gratefully—and personally—those whose selflessness contributes to my safety, comfort or happiness. But also remembering in *prayer those everywhere who follow Jesus’ example.
Carriers of holy crosses….
*The prayer appointed for Holy Cross Day: Almighty God, your Son Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the cross so that he might draw the whole world to himself. To those who look upon the cross, grant your wisdom, healing and eternal life, through Jesus Chris, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, ow and forever. Amen.
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