Posted 07 February 2015 - 12:46 PM
Also why is such a thing seen as necessary, isn't God merciful anyway, why the need for this?
Posted 07 February 2015 - 02:08 PM
Here are a few hymns which speak of the Crucifixion and its meaning:
Because of a tree, Adam became an exile from Paradise;
But through the tree of the Cross, the thief made Paradise his home:
For the former, in tasting, disobeyed his Maker’s commandment,
While the latter, crucified with Him, confessed the hidden God, as he cried:
‘Remember me in Your kingdom’.
Accepting willingly to be nailed to a Tree,
You accomplished salvation in the centre of the earth, O Creator.
Eden, which had been closed to us is open again,
And all of creation, both in heaven and on earth, is saved and worships You.
Today the Creator of heaven and earth said to His own disciples:
The hour has drawn near and Judas who betrays Me is at hand;
Let none deny Me when they see Me on the Cross, between two thieves;
For as man I suffer, and as lover of mankind I save those who believe in Me.
It is also worth noting that Orthodox icons of the Crucifixion do not show Christ as a tortured, ravaged corpse, but as God Incarnate who freely and willingly endured death so that mankind may have eternal life.
Posted 07 February 2015 - 02:23 PM
In the Orthodox tradition, we do not separate out certain events but see all aspects of salvation as forming a continuum. So, regarding Christ's saving of mankind, we do not look at the Crucifixion in isolation but always within the whole economy of salvation. As St. Nicholas Cabasilas says, 'Christ broke down the three barriers that separated man from God: the barrier of nature by His incarnation, the barrier of sin by His death, and the barrier of death by His Resurrection'. The Feasts of the Church exist outside time as do all the events by which God accomplished our salvation, even from the Pre-Eternal Council to the end of time.
Posted 07 February 2015 - 06:54 PM
The Crucifixion is I agree a challenge, but living thorough the full cycal of Holy week brings in to context and perspective. I struggles in the early days, now I would not be without my icons of the crucifixion.
It may help you to read through the services for Holy Friday, the Sunday of the Cross in Lent, and the feast of the Holy Cross.
I would also suggest that you ask the Lord himself to help you understand for he knows our weaknesses and will help us to desocver faith in him.
Posted 07 February 2015 - 07:37 PM
The cross is the clearest thing Jesus could do to show obedience and love to the extreme. He is God, He is trying to picture for us in a way that we can see and understand an obedience and love that are far above and beyond human obedience and love.
He could have saved us some other way, but this was they way that showed the right image of His great love and the seriousness of our great sin, His resurrection shows us that death is not God's plan for us - death was the penalty for our sin at the Fall, so that man's evil would not be eternal, but Christ dies and rises to show us that in Him death is overcome and a new life, free of the old evil is being offered.
Jesus also set an example for us. At the Fall human beings started trusting in their own power. They wanted to rule their own lives, do their own thing and so they abandoned their Creator and Father. Christ's death on the cross shows us the way back home to God - obedience, humility and faith. In the story of the Prodigal Son which we will be focusing one can see this journey pictured.
Paul writes in Philip 2: 5-11
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Edited by Anna Stickles, 07 February 2015 - 07:40 PM.
Posted 07 February 2015 - 07:48 PM
Just one other thought, God is merciful, but the entrance into heaven isn't free.
The ticket into heaven is repentance, disowning every evil inclination and thought. This is because in order for heaven to continue to be heaven, there cannot be any selfishness, pride, greed, etc. there. Christ came to give us a new kind of life, a way of life fit for heaven. The church is here to teach us how to start living this new life.
Posted 07 February 2015 - 08:54 PM
We must also remember that the Holy Cross is no mere symbol (in the sense that word tends to have nowadays) but has real power. Those hostile to the Christian faith are not disturbed much by, say, icons, but the Cross really gets to them - they cannot stand it.
Posted 09 February 2015 - 03:42 PM
The Greeks as a people accepted it when the Roman emperor said it was the official religion (Theodosius?) (Constantine only proclaimed tolerance for Christianity he did not make it the state religion.)
But of course, like with the Jews, not everyone accepted it. Paganism thrived for a long time alongside Christianity, and then various heresies arose denying that God died - which caused all the Christological debates.
Even today not all Greeks are Orthodox Christians. Christ's teaching has always been, and still is, a stumbling block to many and Revelation tells us that it will still be so even in the times right before Christ returns.
Posted 09 February 2015 - 05:14 PM
... but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness ... (1 Corinthians 1:23)
The actuall meaning of the word "Greeks" refers not to Greek people but to "Gentiles" in general. Gentiles are the non-Jews.
So, the verse should be read :
... but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the non-Jews foolishness ..
Edited by Lakis Papas, 09 February 2015 - 05:14 PM.
Posted 11 February 2015 - 12:37 AM
I see it this way. God teaches us by His example. God says "I love you THIS MUCH!" God is saying "I am not asking you to do anything I am not willing to do, and have already done, for you."
A conquering army often appropriates the symbols of its defeated enemies. Christ has conquered death BY His death and we appropriate the symbol of His victory by taking up the cross.
While Catholicism and even much Protestantism seem to concentrate on the Crucifixion, Orthodoxy tends to emphasize on the Resurrection. So what other churches may do does not apply to the Orthodox Church.
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