Lift High the Cross!
Lord, we gather around the symbol of your death, in the shadow of your cross. But we gather, not with grieving and empty hearts, but with hearts of joy and hope and faith, thankful that the cross was not the end of the story. Thank you, Lord, that the story continued! With women blinking into the darkness of the empty tomb. With disciples blinking into the bright sky as your Christ rose into it. With followers from the upper room at Pentecost to Rome to Wittenberg to Lawrence who continue blinking, hopeful, Spirit-led, energized, into the future of your power and love and grace.
So, this morning, we lift high the cross, in your presence and with your promise, as a symbol of service and sacrifice and your power over death.
We lift high the cross, to hearts who hurt and fear and doubt and question. May your grace and hope buoy those who despair themselves and their gifts and their value as your children.
We lift high the cross, in places where there is darkness and abuse and brokenness and anger. Help us to be your hands and feet in the places where children are beaten and abused because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time…where innocent victims feel the brunt of war and violence and injustice…where voices of power and possession fail to take into consideration the “least of these.”
We lift high the cross, for people who feel unaccepted and unloved and unknown. Find and guard their hearts and help them to see the truth of your grace and the beauty of their own souls.
We lift high the cross, to each another. In our church, in this hour of worship, Lord, remind us of the priority and power of your cross. Power over our petty disagreements. Power over our terrors and fears. Power over our willingness and aptitude to divide and separate and become less unified instead of more. May we through the power of your cross remind each other and ourselves that true power is power to serve and power to love. Teach us. Remind us. Lift high for us that power.
As we lift high the cross, to Lawrence, to the country, and to the world.
Or as your son commissioned: to Jerusalem, to Judea and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.
Your son, who taught us to live and taught us to pray, saying…