In the cross of Christ I glory,
Tow’ring o’er the wrecks of time.
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.
LSB 427 st. 1
“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
We love feeling satisfaction in a job well done. It is that feeling which often keeps us going on the job, in the classroom, or with a home project. Indeed, we crave it and delight in it. Yet what happens when satisfaction and contentment are no longer enough? It is then that we begin to boast and glory in ourselves and our work for others to notice, so we may have their praise and avoid their persecution. We often find much in our lives to boast in: Our job, our money, our marriage and children, our pedigree, or our piety and what we gave up for Lent. We can even glory and boast in the love, kindness, and charity we show to others—which, then, makes those acts none of those things. However, the reality is that whatever we boast in, it all leads to the same place: ashes to ashes, dust to dust. We may avoid persecution; we may gain worldly glory; but on our own, we cannot avoid death.
Which is why St. Paul reminds us today that the only true glorying and boasting is in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Baptized into Christ’s death, the world has been crucified to us. We no longer desire its praise or fear its persecution, but, in the salvation Christ won for us, we eagerly wait for the day when we will arise anew and hear Him tell us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” So that when we leave the Lord’s Table Sunday after Sunday, we can then go out and truly fast, pray, love others, and live an honest life without seeking the praise of the world. Because we know where our true glory and salvation is and always will be: in Christ and Him crucified.
Let us Pray: Heavenly Father, in our Baptism keep our eyes fixed on the cross of Your Son so that we may always glory and boast in Him alone, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Michael McGinley Sem. IV)