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Cross - Holy Week

The Cross that You Carry is an inspirational prayer I wrote for the benediction at the end of each service in Lent. May God bless you today and throughout Holy Week as you journey toward the cross of Good Friday and the open tomb of Easter morning!

The Cross that You Carry
by Mark Giuliano

May the cross that you carry today,
Build strength within you for your journey.

May the cross that you carry today,
Be the cross which leads you to eternal life tomorrow.

May the cross that you carry today,
Be the cross that Jesus carries with you.

May the cross that you carry today,
Bless you with peace now and forever.

Like the cross, and the brutal form of death it once represented, death is now a way-marker or a signpost that points us toward abundant life in Christ, today, and eternal life, tomorrow.

Have you ever been with someone near the time of their death?
Find out who and what we see before we die. 

Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem, and kept his focus on the eventuality of the cross (Luke 9:51-62). Jesus was set-faced and cross-eyed. Find out how the cross, and the death it once symbolized, have now become way-markers on our greater journey. (more…)

IF SOMEONE ASKED YOU TO PICK A SHAPE TO BE BEST SYMBOLIZE LOVE, WHAT WOULD IT BE? A circle? A Square? Maybe even a Möbius loop? For Christians, love comes in the shape of a cross. The cross represents a kind of love that the ancient Greeks called, “agape” love. Agape is the kind of love that willingly lays itself down for the other.

There’s power in the cross. I once almost quit the ministry, but a deeper understanding of the cross and all that it represents called me back. Where is it calling you?

May God continue to strengthen your faith as you carry the cross throughout your Lenten journey and beyond.

Dr. Mark

WHY DID JESUS HAVE TO DIE? Theologically speaking, why does the cross even matter to us? And how does it matter? Ask yourself, why the cross matters to you. Maybe it doesn’t.

On the second Sunday of Lent this year, I decided to tackle the theological problem of the cross be exploring a variety explanations, from substitutionary atonement to creation theology which, simply put, says that the cross restores us and the creation to God. I see the cross somewhat differently. (more…)

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This Lent I’m preaching a sermon series at the historic Old Stone Church in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. The series is called Cross Words: There’s Power in the Cross! 

This afternoon, after our staff meeting, Old Stone’s Associate for Care, my friend and colleague in ministry, Rev. Dr. Charles D. Yoost shared this beautiful prayer from the Iona Community with me which connects so well with our Lenten  focus on the cross. Today, I share this prayer with all of you along with my own prayer that the cross may bring you closer to God and God’s purpose for your life this Lent and always.

O Christ,
The Master Carpenter,
who at the last through wood and nails,
purchased our salvation,
wield well your tools in the workshop of the world,
so that we, who come rough-hewn to your bench,
may here be fashioned to a truer beauty by your hand.
We ask this for your name and for your sake.

– From the Iona Community, Scotland

Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand logo

“There are really no words to adequately convey the gravity of this situation where people have lost their lives and been injured in such a senseless and violent manner,” said the Rt. Rev. Fakaofo, moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand today in the wake of Friday’s double mass shootings in his country that left at least 49 dead and another 20 seriously injured.

He’s right, of course. Sometimes, there just are no adequate words that can express how we feel in times national crisis, or even personal tragedy. The church, however, has thoughtful and collectively agreed upon words that speak even when our own words fail us.  (more…)

2000 YEARS AGO, IT WAS AN INSTRUMENT OF DEATH. Today, the cross is one of the most universally recognized symbols of hope! Such is the power of God. This Lent, I’m preaching a 5 part sermon series called Cross Words: There’s Power in the Cross! The series explores and celebrates the life-giving power of the cross.

In this first episode, Cross Training, we go to the wilderness with Jesus. Luke uses the term eremon, which sounds like a mythical land in Lord of the Rings, or a far off planet in the Star Wars trilogy but literally translated means: desolate, desolation, or desolate place. We’ve all been to eremon at one time or another.  (more…)