Reigned from a Tree
the Cross of Jesus Christ
himself bore our sins in his body on the
tree, so that
might die to sin and live for
his wounds you have been healed.
1 Peter 2:24
Abbot of Deutz (c.1075-1129)
We venerate the cross as a safeguard of faith,
as the strengthening of hope and the throne of
love. It is the sign of mercy, the proof of
forgiveness, the vehicle of grace and the banner
of peace. We venerate the cross, because it has
broken down our pride, shattered our envy,
redeemed our sin and atoned for our
The cross of Christ is the door to heaven, the
key to paradise, the downfall of the devil, the
uplifting of mankind, the consolation of our
imprisonment, the prize for our freedom.
The cross was the hope of the patriarchs, the
promise of the prophets, the triumph of kings
and the ministry of priests. Tyrants are
convicted by the cross and the mighty ones
defeated, it lifts up the miserable and honors
the poor. The cross is the end of darkness, the
spreading of light, the flight of death, the
ship of life and the kingdom of salvation.
Whatever we accomplish for God, whatever we
succeed and hope for, is the fruit of our
veneration of the cross. By the cross
Christ draws everything to him. It is the
kingdom of the Father, the scepter of the Son
and the seal of the Holy Spirit, a witness to
the total Trinity.
The answer of a Christian
reflection on Genesis is that sin has to be
taken away, removed from human life. Not only do
human beings have to cease doing the things that
cause evil and further ruin, the things that
deserve penalization, but also the sinful state
of the human race that causes those actions has
to be changed. The disease that leads to death
has to be healed. Sinfulness has to be
eradicated; true health, true life, has to be
given. Human beings need a Redeemer, someone who
can rescue them from the misfortune into which
they have fallen and restore them to true life
The Cross -
the Tree of Life
The tree is
my everlasting salvation. It is my food,
a shared banquet. Its roots and the
spread of its branches are my own roots and
extension… Its shade I take for my resting
place; in my flight from oppressive heat it is
the source of refreshing dew for me… Food for
my hunger and wellspring for my thirst, it is
also covering for my nakedness, with the
spirit of life as its leaves… Fearful of God,
I find in it a place of safety; when unsteady
a source of stability. In the face of a
struggle, I look to it as a prize; in victory
Jacob’s ladder, the passage of angels, at
whose summit the Lord is affixed. This
tree, the plant of immortality, rears from
earth to reach as high as heaven, fixing the
Lord between heaven and earth. It is the
foundation and stabilizer of the universe,
undergirding the world that we inhabit.
It is the binding force of the world… It is
riveted into a unity by the invisible bonds of
the Spirit, so that its connection with God
can never be severed. Brushing heaven
with its uppermost branches, it remains fixed
in the earth, and between the two points, its
huge hands completely enfold the stirring of
the air. A single whole, it penetrates
all things and all places.
Behold on the Cross
of Hippo (c.354-430)
As they were looking on, so we too gaze
on his wounds as he hangs. We see his blood as
he dies. We see the price offered by the
redeemer, touch the scars of his resurrection.
He bows his head, as if to kiss you. His heart
is made bare open, as it were, in love to you.
His arms are extended that he may embrace you.
His whole body is displayed for your redemption.
Ponder how great these things are. Let all this
be rightly weighed in your mind: as he was once
fixed to the cross in every part of his body for
you, so he may now be fixed in every part of
your soul. [GMI
God Has Reigned from a Tree
a hymn for
Passiontide by Venantius Fortunatus
The standards of the King
the mystery of the cross shines out in
the cross on which life suffered death
and by that death gave back life to us.
His side, wounded by the spear's cruel
poured out water and blood
to wash away the stains of our sins.
The words of David's true prophetic song were
in which he announced to the nations:
"God has reigned from a tree."
Tree of dazzling beauty,
adorned with the purple of the King's
and chosen from a stock
worthy to bear limbs so sacred.
How favoured the tree
on whose branches hung the ransom of the
it was made a balance on which his body was
and bore away the prey that hell had
Hail, cross, our only hope!
In this season of passiontide
give an increase of grace to the good
and wipe out the sins of the guilty.
Let every spirit praise you,
fount of salvation, Holy Trinity.
On those to whom you have generously given
victory of the cross,
bestow the reward also. Amen.