Malankara World

Great Lent

Mid-Lent and the Holy Cross

by Jose Kurian Puliyeril

On the 25th day of the great Lent of 50 days we place the Holy Cross, which we revere as Golgotha in the exact center of the Church. By this act we commemorate the placement of the brazen serpent in the exact center of the tents of Israelites. God asked Moses and authorized him to erect a brazen serpent to save all those who had been bitten by the poisonous snakes. Numbers 21: 4-9 explains the circumstances that led to the installation of the brazen serpent. When the descendants of Abraham were travelling from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to compass the land of Edom (modern Jordan) they spoke against God and Moses, as they were totally discouraged because of the way. As a result fiery serpents were sent and they bit the people and much people of Israel died. Then only they repented and as a result of Godís compassion God asked Moses to erect the brazen serpent and commanded that all those who might look at it would be saved.

The brazen serpent is supposed to be the shadow of the Cross on which our Lord was crucified for the salvation of the entire mankind. The cross of our Lord is revered as the one having life and which could provide life. It is honored as the way to heaven as well as a bridge above the hell which would enable the faithful to cross the deep pit of the hell.

The same cross is placed in the center of the Church, which could be viewed easily by the faithful from all corners of the Church. It reminds the arrival of God to the midst of His children to hear them and see them easily. (Lord Jesus incarnated and lived among the mankind as a full man, resembling the human natures except sin) The cross which is often placed on the Altar on the eastern side of the Church is brought down to the midst of the faithful.

This symbolizes the coming of God Almighty from above to our midst, to see us and hear us more closely.

On the mid Lent day, we remember and honor King Abgar of Edessa. It is traditionally believed that during the Public Mission days of our Lord, King Abgar had sent a messenger with a personal letter. It is widely believed that King had voluntarily offered acceptance for Lord Jesus in his kingdom. So also he had asked for the cure of his personal illness for which there was no effective treatment in his kingdom. As soon as our Lord received the letter, he gave a towel after wiping His face and miraculously there was picture of Lord Jesus on the towel. Any way it is believed that King Abgar had believed in Lord Jesus though he could not meet our Lord in person.

May God bless us all

See Also:

Lenten Reflection for Mid Lent
Lent is a time of self discipline. A faithful person may look to the end of his travails, as an athlete, and visualize the prize before him. How wonderful the rewards of God! Though we may face tribulation, like a good Father God knows how to reward His children. ...

Mid Lent and Erection of Golgotha
The Golgotha and erection of cross in the of the church also signifies that God came down from heaven and dwelt among us in this world. This is why the Golgotha is in the middle of the church with us, the common folks, and not in the Madbaha as we normally expect to find it.

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