Forward Today: Holy Cross, holy love

In this week’s edition of our weekly Wednesday newsletter, Scott reflects on tomorrow’s Holy Cross Day, and his hope “that the Cross of Christ will be more than an abstraction for us.”

Dear friends in Christ,


Tomorrow, the church celebrates Holy Cross Day, a commemoration of events from the fourth century. It was on this date in the year 335 that the Emperor Constantine dedicated a large church on the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. That building was ravaged by time and armies, but you can visit Jerusalem today and pray in a later (and now ancient) building on the same site.
When Constantine had ordered construction on the building, his mother, Helena, was entrusted with overseeing the work. During the construction, tradition says that fragments from the True Cross, that is, the cross on which Jesus had been crucified, were found. It sounds fanciful, and perhaps it is. What is not fanciful are the fervent prayers of pilgrims from around the world in that site every day.


Calvary Chapel, the traditional site of Jesus’ Crucifixion. scottagunn via flickr

Recently, the traditional site of Jesus’ burial and resurrection was renovated. During the construction, another miracle of sorts happened. It turns out that under more modern layers of marble, ancient, first-century stone was discovered. This is the latest in a series of archeological finds which support the idea that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built on the actual sites where the actual events of Good Friday and Easter Day took place. It is almost overwhelming.

I have had the privilege of visiting this church several times, and each time has been a profound experience. Speaking for myself, I think it’s tempting to think of the cross and the resurrection as abstract events. I know they are “real” but they are too amazing to sink in, as it were. When I visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, something changes in my heart and in my mind. You can touch the stone. You can pray where Christians have been praying for nearly twenty centuries.

Tomorrow is Holy Cross Day. I hope that that the Cross of Christ will be more than an abstraction for us. On the Cross, we see living and dying proof of God’s love for us and the whole world.

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the cross that he might draw the whole world to himself: Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, may have grace to take up our cross and follow him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Yours faithfully, 
Scott Gunn
Executive Director


To get future reflections from Scott in your inbox, subscribe to Forward Today.

Today’s Wednesday sale item is John Ohmer’s Slaying Your Goliaths.