|The Resurrection of Christ and the Women in the Tomb (c. 1440-1442) by Fra Angelico|
The liturgical greeting for Eastertide is one that goes back centuries. But my favorite Resurrection Day hymn goes back only to the eighteenth century. Written by Charles Wesley, brother of John Wesley the English church reformer, I miss singing this hymn today with great gusto and joy as it is being sung at churches around the world. These words and the soaring music truly expressed my Easter joy in a Risen Saviour!
1. Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!
2. Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!
3. Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where's thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!
4. Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
Last night's Holy Saturday Vigil was so powerful. Lighting the Pascal fire from flint and steel, then lighting the Pascal Candle which is embedded with five small nails representing the five wounds of Christ, then praying together before processing into the darkened chapel with "The Light of Christ! Thanks be to God!!" We stop and sing this three times, each time lighting more of the candles. Then we pray by candlelight and Father sings the ancient Holy Saturday liturgy in plainsong--it's soooooo beautiful!!
|The Paschal Candle, with the Greek letters "Alpha" and "Omega", the year, and the nails representing the Five Wounds of Christ|
Then we read several long Scripture passages which tell our salvation history as God's people. We then re-affirmed our baptismal vows and celebrated the First Evensong of Eastertide!! With what joy did we greet the end of this amazing vigil, definitely my favorite service in the Anglican tradition. The candles, the incense, the Scripture passages, the vows, the prayers, and the joy of the Resurrection after the sorrow of Good Friday.
The Good Friday liturgy was equally powerful, but it was filled with sorrow rather than the impending joy of the Vigil. To read the Passion of the Christ from the Gospel of Saint John aloud...to be crying out "Crucify Him!! Crucify Him!!" with the crowd, to stand at the foot of the huge Santos crucifix and venerating the wood, feeling the roughness beneath my fingers as I looked on the carved wooden image representing my dying--no, my dead Lord. Kris next to me was wiping tears as was I, and Chris' wife, Mary, was sobbing. My heart was so heavy as I imagined His suffering...for us! For me! For those whom I love! For every person ever created on this earth and every person who will be created in the future. His Love is that big!! Alleluia!! Thanks be to God!!
|The Crucifixion with Saints by Fra Angelico (141-1442), fresco|
EASTER SUNDAY or THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST
This Collect is prayed daily through the octave (Easter Week).
ALMIGHTY God, who through your only eternal Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life; Grant that, by your mighty power going before us, we may die daily to sin and live with him forever in the glory of his resurrection; Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and rules with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. (References: Acts 2.24; John 9.25; 1 Peter 1.3; Hebrews 2.14-15; James 1.4)
|Easter Sunrise Service at Pine Valley Bible Conference Center, 6:30 AM|
I rose early to attend the first Easter Sunrise Service in Pine Valley in a loooooong time! It was 34 degrees, so everyone bundled up with blankets and travels mugs full of hot drinks while we were led in worship and Pastor Noble gave the message. After breakfast in the Dining Hall at PVBCC, we attended 9:00 AM services at Pine Valley Community Church. before heading an hour away to Ramona to have Easter dinner with Keith's family.
He is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!!