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Just a Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness…..

March 13, 2012

Today the Church celebrates the Mid Lent. One of the Old Testament reading for today is Numbers 21:4-9

It reads

Moses lifting up the bronze serpent

“4 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. 5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” 6 Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. 7 And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.”

Sleeba

 It is the day of “Sleeba Nattal” (Hoisting of the cross) in remembrance of the above mentioned reading, which is a foretelling of the Crucifixion of Christ. As the Israelites who looked the bronze serpent and were healed, the faithful are healed from their sins on looking the cross which is hoisted in the middle of the Church.

The Sleeba (Cross) is hoisted on top of the Mnortho (The stand on top of which the Cross is instilled). From the mid lent, during which it is hoisted, till before the evening prayer of the Monday of Passion Week the sleeba will be placed in the centre of the church. This symbolizes Christ’s public ministry. After Hosanna Service the sleeba will be placed in the azhikakam (the place where the namaskaramesha is kept). This symbolizes Christ’s entry into Jerusalem. Till Good Friday the sleeba will be there. On the Good Friday the sleeba is placed in the chamber behind the altar table. From the day of Easter till Ascension the Sleeba placed on top of the Mnortho, is placed inside the altar. This symbolizes Christ presence in the world after his resurrection till his ascension, but during these days, He was invisible and untouchable (except when He allowed for).

In early Christianity, the Metropolitans used to sit in the middle of the Church and give sermons on the church faith to the new Christians. The cross which is hoisted in the middle of the Church today, also calls the faithful to come to the true faith and teachings of the church and take the remaining of the lent with prayers and repentance.

In Christ

Kiran

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