Today is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. A feast, a fiesta, is a celebration set apart to mark something significant. The Church has Feasts for Saints; Feasts for events that celebrate the life of Mary; for example, the Feast of the Assumption, or; the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Other Feasts mark the significant events in the life of Christ: Baptism, Presentation, Transfiguration, Ascension, and, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
We celebrate feasts in our own lives: when we were born, when we were baptized, when we were married, or professed vows, or were ordained. We mark, but may not necessarily celebrate a feast, when an anniversary of a death rolls around. But. We do (in our Church) celebrate the Feast of All Saints. We do celebrate death, because we believe, as Christians, that it is through death, that we come to new life.
This is why we celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. We celebrate the cross, not because of the brutal execution suffered by Jesus on the Cross, but because of what the life of Jesus meant. God became human through the person of Jesus. God chose to celebrate life and glorify life and give life dignity by putting on the human person. God lived as a human being, subject to everything life throws at the human person, including execution because of standing up to power; for standing up for the poor, the lost, the forgotten, the confused, the grieving, the lonely, the marginalized, rich and poor alike.
As followers of Jesus, Christians are called to take on the mind and heart of Christ. To stand up for the poor and the powerless, the lost and forgotten, the confused and misguided, the grieving, the marginalized, the rich, and the poor. A spiritual friend and guide once said to me, “there are many forms of poverty.” Indeed there are. As there are many ways to be lost and forgotten and marginalized.
Perhaps the best way we can celebrate the Cross of Christ is do what Jesus would do: have a fiesta and invite everyone to it. Dance, eat, drink, laugh, love, and give thanks for life, especially for the life of Jesus, and for his death, because after death comes the Resurrection! This is the Glory of the Cross.
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On the header, photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash.