There is nothing more upsetting than thinking of something that brought us harm let alone looking at it. Yet this is exactly what God wants us to do. Why else would He invite those bitten by the serpent to look at the serpent itself to be healed? (Num. 21: 8-9). Why else would He want us to bear the Cross – the very means used to murder Christ?
To mark our approaching proximity to the Cross, the Church inaugurates the Mid-Lent by erecting the Cross at the nave of the church typifying the serpent lifted up by Moses in the wilderness which was the representation of Christ on the Cross (John 3:14). This Cross stays at the centre of the church until the Holy Week the commencing on of which it is moved closer to the altar after all “𝐂𝐫𝐨𝐬𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐝𝐨𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐨 𝐆𝐨𝐝” (𝘗𝘳𝘰𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘏𝘺𝘮𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘞𝘢’𝘥𝘦𝘩 𝘋𝘢𝘭𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘰).
Our healing often lies in confronting, subverting and transforming that which caused us harm. Cross and the serpent on the pole are the pedagogical expressions of God on how to constructively make use of our fear, trauma, anxiety, pain, agony, death and anything that cripples us holistically. Modern civilization has made us extremely vulnerable and vacillating people who helplessly succumb to the challenges of life. German educator Friedrich Wilhelm Foerster in his classic “Basics of Education” critiques the modern persons;
“𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘥𝘰 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘧𝘳𝘶𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 – 𝘩𝘰𝘸 𝘵𝘰 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘪𝘵 – 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘦𝘦 𝘪𝘵 𝘰𝘯𝘭𝘺 𝘢𝘴 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘰𝘱𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘳𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘴. 𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘴𝘦 𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘷𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘥 𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘭𝘪𝘦𝘳 𝘨𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘨𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘮𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦’𝘴 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘴, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘰𝘧𝘵𝘦𝘯 𝘦𝘯𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘦𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘰𝘰𝘵𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘮𝘰𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘯 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘰𝘯 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘢 𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘭 𝘪𝘯𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘵𝘶𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯.”
We have come halfway of the Great Lent. Let us complete the other half by the Lenten wisdom we have gleaned thus far which is, as St. Paul puts it; “𝘋𝘰 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘣𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥, 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘣𝘦 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘴𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘸𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘴, 𝘴𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘮𝘢𝘺 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘤𝘦𝘳𝘯 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘰𝘧 𝘎𝘰𝘥—𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘤𝘤𝘦𝘱𝘵𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘧𝘦𝘤𝘵.” (𝘙𝘰𝘮. 12:2).
Concluding with a Slutho from the Order of Mid-Lent of the Syriac Orthodox Church;
“𝘞𝘦 𝘱𝘳𝘢𝘺, 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘪𝘨𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘠𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦-𝘨𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘊𝘳𝘰𝘴𝘴 𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘴, 𝘴𝘰 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘴𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘪𝘵𝘴 𝘴𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘴 𝘴𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘧𝘪𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘪𝘵𝘴 𝘢𝘥𝘰𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯, 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘵𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘸𝘪𝘤𝘬𝘦𝘥𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘧𝘭𝘦𝘦 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘶𝘴. 𝘉𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘢𝘮𝘦 𝘴𝘪𝘨𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘳𝘰𝘴𝘴, 𝘸𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘴𝘦𝘦𝘤𝘩 𝘠𝘰𝘶, 𝘨𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘶𝘴 𝘱𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘨𝘵𝘩 𝘢𝘨𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘴𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘱𝘪𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘧𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘦𝘩𝘰𝘰𝘥.”
Blessed Mid-Lent !
~ 𝐃𝐚𝐲𝐫𝐨𝐲𝐨 𝐅𝐫. 𝐁𝐚𝐬𝐢𝐥
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