HistoryJournal.org

Holy Week commentaries: Saturday

Posted in Christianity, Religion by Alex L. on May 8, 2009

From my journal:

“Went to the Pascha midnight service. The joy of the holiday, I think, was not mimicked in our congregational celebration [. . .]:

‘Before the symbolic ark, David, God’s forefather, did leap and dance. Let us, therefore, the holy people, seeing the fulfillment of those symbols, rejoice with divine rejoicing; for Christ the Almighty is risen’ (719).

“The Paschal Orthos service, during the Paschal Canon, refutes the point I mentioned yesterday and describes why Sunday is now the day of rest for Christians:

‘The Paschal Feast was called Pascha from the Jewish name; for Christ by his Passion and Resurrection translated us from the curse of Adam and the bondage of Satan to the ancient liberty and bliss. As for the day of the week, which is called in Hebrew, the first day, being dedicated to our Lord for his glorification and magnification, it is called in Greek, Kyriake, or the Lord’s Day. The Disciples transferred to it the dignity of the sabbath after the Law of the Old Testament, and prescribed that it be a holiday and a day of rest’ (724).

“I wonder about the source documenting the ‘transfer’. The readings of the Paschal Divine Liturgy are interesting because they suggest that Christ has become known to us. The Epistle is of the beginning of the book of Acts, which begins the story of the work of the Holy Spirit after Christ’s resurrection was revealed to his disciples. The Gospel reading is from the beginning of the Gospel of John, which is the gospel book that reveals Christ’s nature from the first chapter of the book. Finally, I admired the Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom for conveying God’s love and mercy to all people, regardless of their faults [. . .]:

‘Enter all of you, therefore, into the joy of our Lord, and, whether first or last, receive your reward. O rich and poor, one with another, dance for joy! O you ascetics and you negligent, celebrate the day! You that fasted and you that have disregarded the fast, rejoice today! The table is rich-laden; the calf is fatted; let no one go forth hungry! Let all partake of the feast of faith. Let all receive the riches of goodness. Let no one lament his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one mourn his transgressions, for pardon has dawned from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Saviour’s death has set us free’ (787).

“And so we feasted after the service and came home late, in the early dawn.”

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