|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 Father Acker and Alice processed into the darkened chapel singing "The Light of Christ! Thanks be to God!!" They stopped to sing this three times, each time lighting more candles; we at home on Zoom lit our candles, too. Then we prayed by candlelight as Father Acker sang 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. Thanks be to God, indeed!!
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. My heart was so heavy as I imagined His suffering so greatly ... 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|