On September 14, some Christians observe Holy Cross Day. In the Roman Church the day’s focus is on the finding of the relics of the original cross. Among Lutherans the focus is on the words of Jesus, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Here is an extended collect and a blessing with the focus on cross bearing by Veit Dietrich, a student of Martin Luther.
Lord God, heavenly Father,
in your fatherly and infinite wisdom
you place your children on earth under the cross
and we endure many troubles.
Through these you guard us against sins
and lead us to believe, hope and pray.
Have mercy on us,
and hear our prayers in every affliction and need,
and send us your gracious help
so that we may know your grace and fatherly goodness,
and praise and glorify you with all your saints in eternity,
for you, with your Son and the Holy Spirit alone are the eternal God. Amen.
Source: Veit Dietrich, Summaria christlicher lehr, Epiphany 4, 1548. Prayers from the Evangelical Lutheran Heritage, #223.
May the almighty and gracious God,
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
forgive us all our sins,
help us to live in daily repentance,
and grant that whatever crosses he sends
serve to lead us to despise and avoid what is evil
and love and practice what is good,
until we depart this life and enter eternal life. Amen.
Source: Veit Dietrich / Franziskus Vierling, Votum (a reflective prayer or blessing) on Hebrews 12:1-17, from the Altenberger Bibel. Prayers from the Evangelical Lutheran Heritage, #224.
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