October 2007 letter
I congratulate you on the Coptic New Year 1724 A.M. asking the Lord that this new year may be filled with spiritual blessings. With the New Year we also commemorate the “Feast of the Holy Cross” that we will be celebrating for three days starting on Tut 17.
The church celebrates the “Feast of the Cross” twice during the year: The first time is on Tut 17 and it is celebrated in remembrance of the Queen Helena finding Jesus’ cross. The second is on Baramhat 10 and it is celebrated because of the return of the cross to Jerusalem on the year 627 A.M. by Emperor Heraclius, after being taken by the Persians.
The cross is the flag of Jesus’ kingdom. A country’s flag carries more than just the value of the material. It carries all the symbols that the country believes in, and it reflects the image of the country. When people respect a country’s flag, they respect the country itself. In the same way, the cross carries many spiritual symbols to Jesus’ kingdom:
1) The announcing of God’s immeasurable love to man: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn 3: 16).
2) The cross is a sign of strength: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor 1: 18).
3) It is a sign of victory: “having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” (Col 2: 14-15).
4) It is a sign of new life that we received through baptism: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal 2: 20).
5) The cross is the sign of reconciliation between heaven and earth: “that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity” (Eph 2: 16).
6) It is also a mediator between mankind and Jesus: “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself. This He said, signifying by what death He would die” (Jn 12: 32).
These are just some of the meanings that we receive from the Cross of our Lord Jesus, and we hope that it lives not only in our memories but at all times in our hearts .
As for the church news, we are in the process of buying the house by the church on Academy St. to be used for the church’s services. All the income from the yearly banquet on Sunday, November 18 will be used for this house.
Please remember the church, the priest, the servants and their services always in your prayers, and may the blessings of St. Mary and the holy cross be with us always, Amen.
Fr. Youssef Halim
Belleville, October 1, 2007