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Speaking to the Soul: Lifted Up

Speaking to the Soul: Lifted Up

Holy Cross Day

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 66 (morning) // 118 (evening)

Numbers 21:4-9

John 3:11-17

There is a beautiful ambiguity in the phrase “lifted up”, found in today’s gospel reading: “just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” Jesus must be lifted to a place where we can see him and be healed. But does “lifted up” refer to Christ being hoisted up on a cross? Or to Christ rising from death to life? Or to Christ ascending directly into heaven, whence he came?

The phrase appears to encompass all of these upward movements. Jesus will be lifted high on the cross so we can look on him and find healing and life. Jesus will also return to God’s loving embrace by way of ascent: “No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven.”

The gospel today helps us to see the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the ascension as one sweeping gesture, lifting Christ up to a place from which he can heal us. On this Feast of the Holy Cross, may we find a moment to lift up our eyes to the place from which Christ draws us toward himself, toward life in its fullness.

Lora Walsh blogs about the Daily Office readings at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with adult formation and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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