Community of Tampa | St. Pete | Florida

Exaltation of the Cross-‘X’ Marks the Spot

Materials: Hand cross, extra nshkhark, gospel, cross, treasure map

There was a time when someone who had something of great value would often bury their treasure so that no one could find it and take it away. Of course, there was always the risk that one might forget where their treasure was buried, so to make sure that they would remember where it was, they would often make a map like this one. Usually they would mark the spot where the treasure was with an “X” like the one on this map. That is where we get the expression, “X marks the spot.”

Have you ever dreamed of finding an old map and following it to a spot where a pirate had buried a chest full of glittering gold? Well, this morning I want to tell you about a treasure that is more valuable than a chest full of gold — and I will even tell you how to find it.

Jesus once said, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and then hid again; in his joy he went and sold all that he had and bought that field (Mt :13:44).”

If you and I want to find the heavenly treasure that Jesus was talking about, more precious than silver, gold, or jewels, remember that “X” marks the spot.” And where do we see “x’s in church.  (Hold up the cross at an angle so it looks like an “x”)… Everywhere we see a cross!

Where are there crosses in church?  Gospel. Lectern. Nshkhar. Hand cross, the entire building is a cross!

Wherever a cross is, is where God is, and that is where great treasure is!  There is a cross on the Gospel book and podium because these are his words, where he still talks to us when we read.  There is a cross on on the Nshkark, the communion wafer, because this is God’s medicine for us, that, taken every week, forgives all of our sins. Our entire church is in the shape of a cross because God wants us to love each other as a community, by his example.  These are great treasurers, great gifts.

Ok so God gave us many gifts, many treasurers which he buried for safe keeping at church and marked with a cross, and we must work very hard together to make sure no one takes them away. But if we want to be really safe, there is only one completely safe place to burry God’s heavenly treasures—where no pirate or thief can steal it away.  And that is in our hearts and in our minds.  That’s why we come to church every week and take communion during Badarak; so that we know God’s word by heart, inside of us!

And now you know the secret of why we cross ourselves so many times during church. We don’t just want to see God’s treasure marked by crosses outside of us on books, furniture and stones, we want him in our heart.  We are marking the spot where we want God to be, in our minds, in our hearts in our souls–so that no thief, no bad guy can come take it away!  

For as our Lord says, the kingdom of heaven is within us, and we guard with a “X” the spot where Jesus buries himself, the heavenly treasure which is never lost or stolen, which is more precious than life itself and will remain forever, now & always..

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