By Protopresbyterian Anastasios Sargentis
In 2020 AD we humans are trapped in our daily life that despite the highest degree of rational appreciation for life we forget, perhaps, the most realistic thing in it, the polymorphous and timeless coming of death.
So there comes the terrible threat of a virus that shakes the very foundations from one end of the continent to the other and at some point raises questions that we had stubbornly erased along with the presence of God in our lives. But we all have witnessed reactions to positions and oppositions of church, gospel, state, world and science, divisive and fragmented views from everyone to everyone.
A Babel-like confusion. No one understands anyone else for the simple reason that no one wants to hear anyone else. Most importantly, we are selfishly responding to some of the truths that our weaknesses bring to the light towards the fact of corruption and death while trapped in our narcissistic tendency to death and disappearance, to a certainty disrupting the continuity and having no prospect of eternity. A product of atheism one will say. No, this is not the case, psychoanalysis and the history of humanity have already answered these questions. Even in the “declared atheism” people ask God in a useful way, not that this is not the case in the “acceptance of God”.
We seek an idolized God just like a jigsaw puzzle which we assemble with our passions, falls, failures, and desires. This is the quest for something higher and undefined and, therefore, resort to randomness. And this largely comes from the ancient world in various forms and with a subordination depending on the place and time in the aforementioned elements.
In the midst of all the time of rejoicing, there is the incarnate presence of the Son and Word of God who comes to save us with the gift of the Cross, the gift of the Mystery of the Cross. Until then, we Cleopas of the personalized journey are experiencing the performance of the absolute as avenger of the big and small failures. This is because we stubbornly refuse to hear the One who spoke to us of His death as a victory. “As Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the desert, in the same way, the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
And after refusing to hear what some might think as an ideological stance, a doctrine of a specific origin like so many human history has recorded, it gives us a way out of avoiding to carry our cross when He takes responsibility for our own fall from Him, He does not condemn us, and He chooses our salvation as an exercise of our self-control. It blows the logic once again high-sky. He who does not judge the people as “worthy of what they did” is regarded by those people as worthy to die, “death by crucifixion”.And not only that, the salvation that leads to eternal life is revealed through the gift of the Cross as a Mystery.
This is the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is the love of God and the Father.
This is the communion with the Holy Spirit that works in our lives with the acceptance and cooperation of each of us.
A gift of kingdom and eternal life, not sinless, but crucified. No one is sinless but we can all carry our cross. By crucifying our egoism, as our Fathers put it, or our narcissism, as psychologists put it.
As we see the home isolation these days as a form of imprisonment, let us ponder how imprisoned and restricted we are while being distanced from the God of the Gospel, the Sacrifice of the Cross, and the unlimited Gift.
Veneration of the Cross means accepting the Gift, unleashing spiritual bondage, meeting with the Crucified Christ and those crucified for Him in this world.
Let us think the old men and women, admiring the significance of their virtues, and let us consider pain as their common factor, not only these people but also those who choose to come out of the virtual comfort zone of our time. From there begins the personal struggle imbued with pain, not comfort, which we relentlessly pursue in our daily life, resulting in the void and absence of the meaning of life itself.
There is pain in the Cross and in the offering. However, it is important to understand that this pain has the balm of relief through a perceived Cross of offering, alms horizontally, and personal fall vertically to the One Who came not to judge but to save the world.
We venerate Thy Cross, O Christ, and Thy Holy Resurrection we praise and glorify.