Happy Triumph of the Cross Day!
Of the 6,525 BellSouth employees living in the path of Hurricane Katrina, every single one has been found alive and well.
"With age-old love I have loved you; so I have kept my mercy toward you. Again I will restore you, and you shall be rebuilt...proclaim your praise and say: The LORD has delivered his people...Behold, I will bring them back from the land of the north; I will gather them from the ends of the world...They departed in tears, but I will console them and guide them...proclaim it on distant coasts, and say: He who scattered...now gathers them together, he guards them as a shepherd his flock...I will turn their mourning into joy, I will console and gladden them after their sorrows...Thus says the LORD: Cease your cries of mourning, wipe the tears from your eyes. The sorrow you have shown shall have its reward, says the LORD, they shall return...There is hope for your future, says the LORD...Set up road markers, put up guideposts; Turn your attention to the highway, the road by which you went. Turn back...to these your cities...For I will refresh the weary soul; every soul that languishes I will replenish." (Jeremiah 31, various verses.)
Holy Cross Day, the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, and the feast of the Triumph of the Cross are all names for the same celebration -- the rediscovery of the True Cross by St. Helena. All different sorts of Christians still celebrate this feast, thanking Jesus for His great sacrifice through our wonder at the poor inanimate piece of God's creation that became so intimate a part of God's plan for salvation. Much as we Catholics venerate an image of the Cross on Good Friday with genuflections and caresses, so do the Orthodox on this day lie prostrate on the floor while the Cross is raised before the congregation and the following song is sung:
Come, O faithful, let us bow before the life-giving Cross
on which Christ, the King of glory, freely stretched out His hands.
By this He raised us up to our former happiness,
which we had lost because of the ancient Enemy
and the bitter pleasure that exiled us from God.
Come, O faithful, let us bow before the Wood
which lets us crush the head of the invisible enemy.
Come, all you families of the nations,
let us venerate the Cross of the Lord with our hymns:
Rejoice, O perfect redemption of the fall of Adam;
Rejoice, O venerable Cross.
Filled with fear and awe, we embrace you; we glorify God, and we say:
O Lord, You were nailed on the Cross;
in Your goodness and love, have mercy on us.
Come, O people, let us contemplate the marvelous wonder;
let us bow before the power of the Cross.
For the tree of Paradise gave rise to the reign of death,
and now a Tree has made our life blossom forth,
when the sinless Saviour was nailed upon it.
And now, all the nations that are nourished
by this incorruptible food sing praises:
You destroyed death by Your Cross and set us free.
O Lord, glory to You!
The word of Your prophets Isaiah and David is now fulfilled,
for they spoke of You, O Lord, and said:
All the nations shall come to You and bow before You.
Behold the people who are now filled with Your grace
in Your sanctuary in the temple of Jerusalem.
O God of goodness who suffered on the Cross for us
and gives us life through Your holy resurrection,
protect us with Your care, O Lord, and save us.
Rising from the depths of the earth on this day,
the Tree of Life strengthens our faith
in the resurrection of Christ who nailed on it.
His raised hands announce His ascension into heaven,
which permitted Him to dwell in our nature in this fallen world.
We also cry out in thanksgiving:
O Lord who was raised on the Cross and raises us with You,
grant heavenly joy to those who praise Your name.
The four corners of the earth are sanctified today, O Christ our God,
by the four ends of Your exalted Cross.
With it, exalt your faithful Christians
who destroy the power of the enemy through your Cross.
You are great, O Lord, and wondrous in Your works; glory to You!
The words of the prophets have told of the most holy wood
by which Adam was delivered from the ancient curse and from death.
On this day of its exaltation, creation raises its voice
to beg God for the abundance of his mercy.
O Lord, your compassion is beyond measure;
spare us, O God, and save our souls!
Behold the words of the prophet Moses are fulfilled, O Lord;
for he said: You shall see your life suspended before your eyes.
Today the Cross is exalted, and the world is freed from error.
Today the Resurrection of Christ is renewed;
the ends of the earth exalt with joy.
At the sound of the cymbals of David,
they offer a hymn of praise and say:
In your goodness and love for all,
You have brought about our salvation in the middle of the earth, O our God.
Through your Cross and Resurrection You save us.
O Lord all-powerful, glory to You!