Rev. Protopresbyter Demetrios James Moulketis, Proistamenos -- Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, Wyckoff, NJ. --September 11, 2011

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1 Rev. Protopresbyter Demetrios James Moulketis, Proistamenos -- Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, Wyckoff, NJ. --September 11, 2011 In today's Gospel Lesson, the Apostle John presents us with that awesome, wondrous mystery of all mysteries. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son... God sent His Son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that through Him the world might be saved" (Jn. 3:16,17). God so loved the world that He sent His only Son so that we might have eternal life with Him. God, Creator of all that is, God the Source of all of life became one of us to tell us that He loves us. In and through the mystery of the incarnation, God is with us -- literally in our midst this very moment. This profound truth is repeated throughout our liturgical services - God is with us we chant at the Compline Service, give ear all you nations and be humbled for God is with us these

2 verses are taken from the 8 th and 9 th chapters of Isaiah. This statement of truth has become one of the cornerstones of our Compline Service, truly God is with us. Our Divine Liturgy captures this same truth when the clergy exchange the liturgical greeting and say, Christ is in our midst and the response is, He is and shall always be. Indeed God is with us, Christ is in our midst, He is present now, as He was yesterday, and shall always be. As Greek Orthodox Christians our call is to be with God, to include Him in our lives, in our homes and in our everyday concerns. Our call is to be with God by loving and forgiving one another: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have life everlasting. Our God Who is love, gave, and our response is to focus on this love and give back, to share this love with all whom we meet today and for each of our tomorrows.

3 On this Sunday before the Exaltation of the Holy Cross of Jesus Christ we boldly state God is with us, yet we cannot help but remember two life changing events - both are tried to the Cross. On Wednesday September 14 we remember the Exaltation of the Cross of Christ, the greatest of all Christian symbols our symbol of hope and love and victory. We Americans remember today the 10 th anniversary of 9/11. The Cross of Christ connects both these remembrances. It was reported about a month or so ago that the steel beamed Cross unearthed ten years ago from the rubble at ground zero was taken from St. Peter s Church where it had been housed, and was moved to its permanent sight at the ground zero memorial. The history of the Cross is one of horror and tragedy one that ultimately leads us to hope and victory. On that Tuesday September 11, 2001 the tranquility of our nation was shattered. America and the world will

4 never be the same. We all have suffered and are still struggling to come to grips with the dreadful scope of this tragedy. The only possible response which the Church can offer to the many distributing events that have occurred on 9/11 is the Cross itself. For only in the Cross can the mystery of suffering and evil be resolved and transformed, only in the Cross do we find the fullness of hope and victory leading us to the resurrection itself. Only in the Cross of Christ, are we confronted with suffering in all its depth of horror. Only in the Cross of Christ, can we discover a God who suffers with us and for us, and who makes our suffering the very means of our relationship and communion with Him. In remembrance of the finding of Christ s Cross, we chant O Cross of Christ, you are the hope of Christians, you are the guide of those who are struggling, you are the haven of the storm tossed, you are victory in warfare, the firm foundation of the earth, the physician of the sick, and the resurrection of the dead, have mercy on us. The

5 strength of our nation lies in the grace of the Christ s Cross which is a comfort to our nation and a consolation to its people who still mourn and feel the pain of great loss. The Cross teaches us that it is through acts of love and selflessness the power of evil is overcome. The Cross is never separated or considered apart from the Resurrection; this is why on the Feast of the Cross we chant for the Trisagion hymn, we venerate your Cross o Christ, and we glorify your Holy Resurrection. As the Cross is elevated in our Churches this Wednesday, we are ever mindful that it points to a time when all people and every nation shall be gathered together from throughout the earth into the Kingdom of God wherein all human hatred and hostility shall cease and peace shall reign forever. Listen to the words taken from the Vespers of this Feast, "through the Cross of Christ that which was formerly divided has been united in one. Let us then embrace the Cross of our Lord as support for our weakness, healing for our wounds, and comfort for our sorrow. In the presence of the Cross let us

6 pray for the souls of those who have perished, for the sorrow of our nation, for those still struggling, for peace in our world and good will among all people. Let us rally around the Cross as a standard of hope. Confident that the power of good is greater than that of evil, that the power of love is stronger than that of hatred and that the power of the Resurrection has "vanquished and shall vanquish all the powers of fear, of division, and of death. Save o Lord your people and bless those who believe in you. For God so loved the world that God gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have life everlasting.

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