Faithful follow Christ’s cross

“If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)

The cross is the universal symbol of the Christian faith. Every Christian approaches the Holy Cross at the very beginning of their Christian life.

At baptism, we enter the water and become dead in Christ, buried in Christ and resurrected in Christ, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. In that moment, we become a cross-bearing follower of Jesus Christ.

We have been signed with a cross, sealed with the Holy Spirit and partake of the life giving body and blood of our lord.

The Holy Scripture states that “He who believes and is baptized, shall be saved.” This is our entrance into the mystical body of Christ, the Church.

Throughout our lifetime, the faithful, baptized believer, follow Christ by the way of the cross. This brings us great joy knowing that the martyrs struggled, yet confessed Christ. They were armed with the cross that drove away the demons, and defeated the evil one.

We are coming to the beginning of the new church year. We joyfully celebrate and lifting up of the precious cross, for “He who is” the Christ of compassion, endured a shameful death and has quenched the flame of sin by his sufferings and death and glorious resurrection.

This cross we carry is our cross. We have become lovers of the cross when we grow and mature in the things of God. We embrace the strict fast day, crying out to Christ with boldness, “Account us worthy to adore thy Holy Cross.”

We bearer our sufferings in life, yet we look forward to the empty tomb of the resurrected Lord and Master of our life, Jesus Christ.

What can be said about the cross and the crucified Christ of whom we preach? To them that are called, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. To them that are called by God to take on this task to wear and bearer their cross both night and day, every day throughout the years. They put aside the things of this world for the things of God.

You may never know what’s coming up in your life. Our Lord’s burden was very heavy and he was too weak to even take another step.

Now remember Simon of Cyrene, and how he was pressed into service for the Lord. Would you be ready to do the same?

The Rev. Andrew Gall is pastor of St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Sharon, Pa.