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Holy Cross

by The Rev. Thomas L. Weitzel
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

September 14

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For Holy Cross Day, get out all the good cross hymns that everyone loves to sing. Replacing the Kyrie:

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Dialog of the Holy Cross:

A. We praise the Lord for the cross of Christ!

C. We praise the Lord for Christ's willingness to bear it.

 

A. By the cross we are saved.

C. With the cross we are baptized.

 

A. Under the cross we live.

C. Because of the cross we are forgiven.

 

A. In the cross we glory.

C. Through the cross we come to eternal life.

 

A. Praise the Lord for the cross of Christ!

C. Let us take up the cross and follow him.

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The Hymn of Praise would be "This is the Feast," or possibly "Rejoice, O Pilgrim Throng" or "Christ Is Alive!"

I would surely use "Lift High the Cross" for the Hymn of the Day, followed by:

 

Litany on the Stations of the Cross:

A. Jesus told his disciples, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." In the name of Jesus, we pray:

C. Lord, help us to take up our cross and follow you.

 

A. You stood before Pilate, your life condemned, your word rejected, your innocence ignored:

C. Keep us from rejecting your word of truth and salvation.

 

A. You carried your cross on the wounded stripes of your back, for love of us and for all the world.

C. Help us to bear our cross, for love of you and for love of others.

 

A. The weight of your cross was the weight of our sins which make us stumble and fall.

C. In our weakness, we turn to you for strength.

 

A. Although you suffered, you still reached out to care for your mother.

C. May our cross-bearing never keep us from caring for our families.

 

A. As you struggled to bear your cross to Calvary, a passerby was drafted to help you.

C. Make us as willing as Simon to bear the burdens of those in need.

 

A. Others also took risks to comfort you.

C. Strengthen our faith to take loving risks for our needy brothers and sisters.

 

A. Sin weighed heavily upon you as you stumbled along the way.

C. Forgive us, Lord, for the sins which make us fall.

 

A. Your suffering under the cross caused the women of Jerusalem to weep.

C. Make our suffering in life a share in your suffering.

 

A. The full burden of our sin crushed you mightily to the earth.

C. Do not forsake us in our falling, but bring us to repentance and faith.

 

A. Stripped and jeered, you endured humiliation without complaint.

C. Humble us in our work and daily lives.

 

A. Nailed to the cross, you took your place among the condemned.

C. Take your place beside us sinners, and bring us through faith to the Paradise of God.

 

A. When your sacrifice was complete, you handed your life to the Father, and he did not forsake you.

C. Keep us close to your cross and death, now and at the hour of our death.

 

A. Faithful friends and loving women took loving care of your lifeless body.

C. Turn the darkness of death into the brightness of day for those we love.

 

A. In the tomb you were laid, but from the tomb you arose.

C. Be the Lord of the resurrection for us and for all the baptized.

 

P. Loving Jesus, for the sake of your cross and passion, we are justified in faith, washed cleaned of our sins by baptism and repentance, and made one with God. We thank you for your cross and for the depths of your love for us. Help us to bear our cross in the world and follow you until you bring us into your heavenly kingdom; where you reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C. Amen

 

(You might file this litany away for use in Passiontide as well.)

 

The Peace would follow, Proper Preface for the Passion, Eucharistic Prayer with its opening quote from the Gospel for the day (ELW I, LBW III), Lamb of God.

 

For the Post-Communion Prayer, use the third option from the old LBW:

 

A:  Let us pray.  Almighty God, you gave your Son both as a sacrifice for sin and a model of the godly life.  Enable us to receive him always with thanksgiving, and to conform our lives to his;  through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.  (LBW 243)

 

The service concludes with the Benediction, Dismissal, Opt. Closing Hymn.