Hello Church Devotion Aug.29, 2013


 

“X” is for “XP”
 

As you read today’s devotion, you might be wondering where is Pastor Schwartz going with this stuff about X or XP?  For we all know what XXX stands for… Hannah Montana / Miley Cyrus?
 
“X” used to be something sort of mysterious… X Ray…  How can they see that?  Or Xerox… Amazing exact copies of an original… XP - A Microsoft Operating System, that is somewhat out of date.
 
But have faith, I have a point to make.  And no, we are not going to be spending time talking about an operating system for a computer.  But, now that you mention it, perhaps operating system is a good analogy to the point I want to make about XP. 
 
An operating system is what the whole computer is built upon.  If your operating system goes kaput, so goes the computers usefulness.  The operating system is central to the whole computer.  It brings everything together so that the parts have purpose and can work in tandem with one another.
 

The XP of Christianity is Christ.  XP, the Greek language’s first two letters in the Greek word for Christ (CHI = X) and (RHO = R).  So, XP really stands for Chi/Rho in the spelling of the word for Christ. 
 
History/Legend tells us that when Emperor Constantine was on the battlefield and his army was losing, he decided that if the pantheon of gods and goddesses were not going to help him, he would call the “One God” that he had heard about. 
 
When he did so, the legend says that in the sky over the face of the sun appeared this symbol (Chi/Rho).  While this seems a bit wild and crazy, it is important to note that Church Historian Eusebius wrote about this in his tome on Ecclesiastical History.   Even he was skeptical about its veracity, but had heard Constantine himself tell this story and that Constantine confirmed it with oats late in life.  “Indeed”, says Eusebius, “had anyone else told this story, it would not have been easy to accept it.”
 
So, Chi/Rho was in the sky as a heavenly sign for the Emperor.  But, it has remained a sign of orthodox Christian faith ever since.  In the Sanctuary here at Our Redeemer, the Chi/Rho design is found all over the place.
 
                        Altar
                        Communion Rail
                        Altar Paraments
                        Lectern Paraments
                        Pulpit Paraments
                        Altar Linens
                        Robes
                        Crosses
                        Art Work
 
You may notice in the form where the Chi/Rho overlap, there is a certain viewing of the cross of Christ that may be captured.  After all, the X of the Chi turned sideways, looks like a stylized cross or type of Celtic cross.  But, the Chi/Rho is also meant to remind us that before the cross, Christ was existing… in eternity.  And that after the cross, after the grave, there is resurrection and life.  So the Rho follows the Chi. 
 


And after the death of Emperor Constantine, the Roman soldiers marched under a banner with the Chi/Rho emblazoned upon it.  I would also note that the upside down U and the W sometimes seen with the Chi/Rho represent the titles of “Alpha & Omega”,  the beginning and the end. 
 
So the next time you are at ORLC, look around intently and see how many XP’s (Chi/Rho’s) you find.  You might find the number of them interesting…

So, XP is important.  It is a symbol of the centrality of Christ in our Faith.   

1.     Where would we be if Christ had not become our Lord and Savior?
 
2.    Where was Christ when God created the heavens and the earth?
 
3.    What is the significance in the cross/resurrection and exemplified in the Chi/Rho?
 
4.    What do you make of Emperor Constantine’s story?
 
Prayer:  Lord Jesus, I ask that you write your name again upon my life, for I am so apt to leave you and my commitments and go off in search of some other god of the moment.  Help me to sing your praises!  Bind my heart and seal it.  Keep it from the corruption of the world and wash it clean in the blood of my dear Savior’s sacrifice.  For only that blood can cleanse my sinfulness and wash away my pettiness and my stains of endless lusts.  Lord, thank you for confession of sins and for the forgiveness you freely give.  Cling to me Lord, and shape me into the new creation that sometimes only you can see.  In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.