Apr 19 2012

Easter Breaking

 

O break my heart; but break it as a field
Is by the plough up-broken for the corn;
O break it as the buds, by green leaf seated,
Are, to unloose the golden blossom, torn;
Love would I offer unto Love’s great Master,
Set free the odor, break the alabaster.

O break my heart; break it victorious God,
That life’s eternal well may flash abroad;
O let it break as when the captive trees,
Breaking cold bonds, regain their liberties;
And as thought’s sacred grove to life is springing,
Be joys, like birds, their hope, Thy victory singing.
Thomas Toke Lynch (1818-1871)


Apr 8 2012

A 5th Century Easter Sermon

Serbian icon, 21st century.

Serbian icon, 21st century.

 

An excerpt of the Easter Sermon of John Chrysostom, pastor of Constantinople, 5th century. This sermon has been continuously preached every Easter morning in the Eastern Orthodox Churches for 1500 years.


Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord!
First and last alike receive your reward;
rich and poor, rejoice together!
Sober and slothful, celebrate the day!

You that have kept the fast, and you that have not,
rejoice today for the Table is richly laden!
Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one.
Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith.
Enjoy all the riches of God’s goodness!

Let no one grieve at his poverty,
for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again;
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.

He destroyed Hades when He descended into it.
He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh.
Isaiah foretold this when he said,
“You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below.”

Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with.
It was in an uproar because it is mocked.
It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed.
It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated.
It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive.
Hell took a body, and discovered God.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.
O death, where is thy sting?
O Hades, where is thy victory?

Christ is Risen, and you, O Death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!
Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead;
for Christ having risen from the dead,
has become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
To God be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!


Apr 7 2012

Advent for the Dancing God

(Sieger Köder, Tomb)

God is dancing still.  Why, I do not know:
wild rains are blowing, and the night is deep;
wind shatters all our human hopes; we weep
for what was lost yet never was let go.

How he is whirling in the wind and rain,
still terrible and passionate and dear;
one step too far away, one breath too near,
we fear lest he might never come again.

God is dancing still, though we build a wall
and make some little bricks and hold our hands
against the rain: God’s ruthless love demands
not half our room nor half our door but all.

O in the darkness of a night gone out
come find me once again, descend, be born,
be racked by wind and crucified and torn
yet never stop the dance.  How could I doubt

Your peace more frightening than any pain,
your dark embrace that burns and purifies,
the searching sharp enchantment of your eyes,
the absolute perfection of your flame?

God of all wind, all dance, all fire, all grace,
heal what I cannot hold, receive my prayer
and give me strength, surrendering, to bear
the dark and dancing splendor of your face.

                 -Jennifer L. Woodruff


Apr 6 2012

Good Friday


 

I raised my eyes
To see Thy kinging
Thorns not gold Thy honor crowned
Men throw dice, no fealty bringing
Their eyes are blind, their souls are bound.

I raised mine eyes
To see Thy sighing
A shaft of sorrow pierced my heart
Nails of sin, their hammer ringing
On tree of life, now death’s dark hour

I raised mine eyes
To see Thy dying
My God, my God, Thy trusting plea
Echoed words, forsaken keening
Among the women who follow Thee

I raised my eyes
To see Thy loving
Words like manna from Thy lips
Behold, my Lord for redemption bleeding,
All our souls his life receiving,
Into Thy hands my spirit give!

(Death of a Prince, S. Forshey)

Apr 5 2012

Maundy Thursday

(Sieger Köder, Last Supper)

(Sieger Köder, Washing of Feet)

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