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Inscribed For All Time

Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom
II Samuel 5:1-3; Psalm 122:1-5; Colossians 1:12-20; Luke 23:35-43

Sermon Week Christ The King (Thirty-Fourth Sunday) Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 23:42

In most Christian traditions, the symbol of the Cross is fashioned from an upright and one crosspiece. However, in the Russian Orthodox tradition, it is shaped somewhat differently. In addition to the usual vertical and one crosspiece, there are two additional elements. One is positioned above the center piece and the other down toward the foot. The small one above represents the sign hung over the crucified Lord's head, bearing the inscription, "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews."

The crosspiece at the foot depicts the wooden block, cruelly placed under Jesus' feet for support, to prevent Him from dying too quickly. This crosspiece is set on the upright at a slant to indicate how Jesus must have pushed down hard with one foot when the pain became most severe. Therefore, unlike the empty Cross, which many Christian traditions use as a sign of Jesus' victory over suffering and death, the Russian Cross emphasizes, with equal validity, that Jesus suffers still, wherever anyone suffers in this world; that Jesus the Victor is Jesus the Victim still.

Christ, in His Lordship, gives meaning to the sufferings of humanity. No amount of human betrayal, hypocrisy, torture, persecution, violence, and hate can overcome Him.

In one of Author Carl Sandberg's works, the following dialogue takes place:

"And the king wanted his wise men to write an inscription good for a thousand years and after that to the end of the world?"

"Yes, precisely so."

"Something so true and lasting that no matter what happened, it would stand?"

"Yes, exactly that."

"Something no matter who spit on it or laughed at it there, it would stand, and nothing would change it?"

"Yes, that was what the king ordered his wise men to write."

"And what did they write?"

"Five words: This, too, shall pass away."

In today's Lesson, Luke tells us of an inscription that has lived on for more than two-thousand years and is destined to endure until the end of the world. We learn about the inscription on the Cross over Jesus' head, which reads, "This is the King [...]

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