23 April 2011

Something Strange

Something strange is happening - there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrows the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: "My Lord be with you all." Christ answered him: "And with your spirit." He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying, "Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light."

I am your God, who for your sake has become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.

For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

I slept on a cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by the cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

--An Ancient Homily, read at Matins of Holy Saturday


Pr. H. R. said...

Ancient? Like when first you arrived at St. Paul's?


Counting down to the Vigil. . . and mint juleps.


William Weedon said...

I'm counting down to Crunchers potato chips! Cindi bought some for after Vigil tonight - and cheese and beer and and and I need to stop thinking about food!!!

William Weedon said...

P.S. The homily is from the Breviary.

Anonymous said...

I have to confess, it is my favorite day of the church year. This may not be a good thing, but I have not yet conquered all the shortcomings of the flesh. You see, the horror of our Lord’s suffering is over, and we are not yet called to do all the things we are supposed to do as Christians after the Resurrection. I told you it was not a good thing. But the peace of the day is so complete – the day on which our Lord rested after He finished the second creation, and rested from such mind-bending labor – that I know of nothing that compares with it.

Peace and Joy to you and yours. Christ is Risen!
George A. Marquart

And this is what our Russian Orthodox brothers and sisters will sing after they have processed around the church and they come to the door and ask, “What have you done with our Lord?”

Trent said...

Attributed to St. Epiphanios, I believe. He wrote one for Orthros of Holy Saturday written from the perspective of St. Joseph of Arimathea that is wonderful as well,

"Tell me, O Joseph, dost thou really bury towards the East a dead man that is the Dayspring of the East? And with thy fingers dost thou close the eyes of Jesus as befits the dead, nay, of Him that with His immaculate finger opened the eyes of the blind? And dost thou bind the mouth of Him that opened the mouth of the stammerer? Dost thou lay out with thy hands Him that extended the withered hands? Or dost thou bind the feet, as befits the dead, of Him that made motionless feet to walk? Dost thou place upon a bed Him that commanded the paralytic, 'Take up thy bed and walk'? Dost thou empty out myrrh upon the celestial Myrrh Who emptied Himself and sanctified the world?" Dost thou dare to wipe that Divine side of Jesus bleeding still, the side of God Who healed the woman of an issue of blood? Dost thou wash with water God's body which cleanses all and bestows purification? But what lamps dost thou light for the 'true Light which enlighteneth every man'? What funeral odes dost thou chant for Him that is hymned unceasingly by all the Heavenly hosts? And dost thou weep as though He were dead that wept and raised up Lazarus, the four days dead? And dost thou bewail Him that gave joy to all and banished the sorrow of Eve?