Monday, 30 March 2009

Great and Holy Week

We have an invitation (from the Aposticha of Holy Tuesday Matins) :

“Thou art more beautiful than all men, O Bridegroom.
Thou hast invited us to the spiritual banquet of Thy bridal chamber.
Strip me of the ugly garment of my sins as I participate in Thy Passion.
Adorn me in the glorious robe of Thy beauty that proclaims me a guest in Thy Kingdom, O merciful Lord.”

“Come, O faithful, let us work zealously for the Master, for He distributes wealth to His servants.
Let each of us according to his ability increase his talent of grace:
Let one be adorned in wisdom through good works:
Let another celebrate a service in splendour.
The one distributes his wealth to the poor; the other communicates the word to those untaught.
Thus we shall increase what has been entrusted to us, and, as faithful stewards of grace, we shall be accounted worthy of the Master’s joy.
Make us worthy of this, O Christ our God, in Thy love for mankind.”

In worship we encounter the living God, Who makes Himself present and active, drawing us into the realm of salvation. We do much more than remember the past events of the Passion and Resurrection and recall the promises for the future. We experience for ourselves the Risen Christ, making all that is past and all that is future present now in our liturgical celebrations.
We stand in the Garden of Gethsemane, having been there when Lazarus came out of his tomb at the call of the Saviour; having shouted “Hosanna” with the crowds at the entry into Jerusalem of our Lord and King.
We witness the arrest; we loiter in the courtyard of the high priest; we weep at the humiliation of our Lord God at the hands of the Roman soldiers; we follow Him to Golgotha and wait to see Him die.
We cry out ecstatically after the long night of His descent into the realms of the dead at His glorious resurrection.
The Church has made it easy for us to be there with the many services … let us not be found too busy, or worse still careless of what is happening.
Pascha, which is the climax of the whole of our salvation history, is the oldest, most venerable and
pre-eminent feast of the Church, the very centre and heart of the liturgical year.

Christ is risen …….. He is risen indeed! English

Al-Maseeh qam … Haqqan qam! Arabic

Christos anesti … Alithos anesti! Greek

Hristos a inviat … Adeverat a inviat! Romanian

Kriste agsdga … C’esmarit’ad agsdga! Georgian

Christos voskrese … Voistinu voskrese! Slavonic