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Posts Tagged ‘Easter’

Note:  The following is from A Year With the Church Fathers by Scott Murray, published by Concordia Publishing House.  I think this is an excellent devotional which covers each of the days of the Church Year with the lessons, prayer of the day, a meditation by Rev. Murray and a quote from one of the Church Fathers.  Below is today’s excerpt:  the Meditation is by Rev. Murray followed by a quote from Cyril chosen for this day. I have done the formatting.  Pr. Schroeder

Prayer of the Day

Almighty God, You show those in error the light of Your truth so that they may return to the way of righteousness. Grant faithfulness to all who areadmitted into the fellowship of Christ’s Church that they may avoid whatever is contrary to their confession and follow all I such things as are pleasing to You;through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Psalmody:   Psalm 145:1-9

Additional Psalm: Psalm 94

Old Testament Reading: Exodus 18:5-27

New Testament Reading: Hebrews 12:1-24

Meditation

Christ bore His cross, despising its shame (Hebrews 12:2). He never apologizes for the cross or acts embarrassed about its suffering and weakness. Instead, He boldly proclaims ignorant those who know not that the Messiah would come to suffer and die. Such persons should never be teachers in Israel (John 3:10). We, too, ought boldly to proclaim our allegiance to the cross of the suffering Lord without any shuffling evasions. We should never be embarrassed by His weakness, because it is the greatest strength through which our salvation is won.

Even the angel, who attends the resurrected Lord at His triumph on the third day, calls Him the crucified One. He who is the head over all things ever remains the crucified. His headship is displayed at the Place of a Skull (Matthew 27:33), where the death’s head gives life to those who are His Body by faith. Golgotha is the place for the Christ to be enthroned upon the tree.

“We can never be tired of hearing about the crowning of our Lord, and least of all in this most holy Golgotha…. Let none be weary. Take your armor against the adversaries in the cause of the cross itself; set up the faith of the cross as a trophy against our opponents. For when you are going to dispute with unbelievers concerning the cross of Christ, first make with your hand the sign of Christ’s cross, and the gainsayer will be silenced. Don’t be ashamed to confess the cross, for angels glory in it, saying, ‘I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified’ (Matthew 28:5)….

“Now Golgotha means ‘the place of a skull.’ Who prophetically named this spot Golgotha, where Christ the true head endured the cross? As the apostle says,

  • ‘He is the image of the invisible God’; and a little after, ‘He is the head of the body, the church’ (Colossians 1:15, 18).
  • And again, ‘the head of every man is Christ’ (1 Corinthians 11:3);
  • and again, ‘who is the head of all rule and authority’ (Colossians 2:10).

The head suffered at ‘the place of a skull: O wondrous prophetic name! The very name also reminds you, saying, ‘Do not think of the Crucified as of a mere man. He is the head of all principality and power. He who was crucified is the head of all power and has for His head the Father, for “the head of every man is Christ…. and the head of Christ is God” ‘ (1 Corinthians 11:3)” (Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 13.22-23).

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Prayer of the Day

Almighty God, through Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, You overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life. We humbly pray that we may live before You in righteousness and purity forever; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

 Lessons:

Psalm 114

Additional Psalm: Psalm 136

Old TestamentReading: Exodus 17:1-16

New Testament Reading: Hebrews 11:1-29

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.  Hebrews 11: 8

Meditation:

“Great was the faith of Abraham…. For what God did and said seemed to be opposed to what was from God. Faith opposed faith. Command opposed promise.

“This is what I mean: God had said, `Go from your country and your kindred and … to your offspring I will give this land’ (Genesis 12:1, 7). But `He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot’s length’ (Acts 7:5). You can see how what was done was opposed to the promise. Again He said, ‘Through Isaac shall your offspring be named’ (Genesis21:12), and he believed. But again He says, ‘Sacrifice to Me this one, who was to fill all the world from his offspring! Can you see the opposition between the commands and the promise? He enjoined things that were in contradiction to the promises, and yet this righteous man did not stagger because of it, nor did he say he had been deceived….

“He heard the opposite of the promises from Him who had made them; and yet he was not disturbed, but he performed them as if they had been in harmony. For they were in harmony. Although they were opposed according to human calculations, they were in harmony by faith. (John Chrysostom, Homilies on Hebrews, 25.1-2)

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"CHRIST IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD, TRAMPLING DOWN DEATH BY DEATH AND UPON THOSE IN THE TOMBS: BESTOWING LIFE!"

Introduction: The Eastern Orthodox Churches have a great custom by calling the first week of the Paschal (Easter) Season “Bright Week”.  A great way to begin the 50 Days of Pascha leading to Pentecost, as we look at what our risen Lord taught His Church for her life and mission into the world.   Easter, like Christmas, is not only a day each, but  a season each.

Further, as Lent is time of preparation for seekers to be Baptized, then the Paschal Season is a time for the newly baptized, and the ‘oldly’ baptized as well, to be instructed in the Way of the Lord more fully.  St. Basil the Great wrote it well regarding Baptism in Christ Jesus’ death and resurrection:

“This is what it means to be born again of water and Spirit: the water accomplishes our death, while the Spirit raises us to life. This great sign of baptism is fulfilled in three immersions, with three invocations, so that the image of death might be completely formed, and the newly baptized might have their souls enlightened with divine knowledge. If there is any grace in the water, it does not come from the nature of the water, but from the Spirit’s Presence, since baptism is not a removal of dirt from the body, but an appeal to God for a clear conscience (1 Peter 3: 21)  The Lord describes in the Gospel the pattern of life we must be trained to follow after the (baptismal) resurrection: gentleness, endurance, freedom for the defiling love of pleasure, and from covetousness. We must be determined to, acquire in this life all the qualities of the life to come. To define the Gospel as a description of what resurrectional life should be like seems to be correct and appropriate, as far as I am concerned.”  (On the Holy Spirit by St. Basil the Great; emphasis my own)

Easter Monday:

COLLECT OF THE DAY

O God, in the paschal feast You restore all creation. Continue to send Your heavenly gifts upon Your people that they may walk in perfect freedom and receive eternal life; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord,who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

READINGS

Exodus 15:1-18

or Daniel 12:1 c-3

Psalm 100 (antiphon: v. 5) Acts 10:34-43

or 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8

Luke 24:13-49

VERSE:

Alleluia. Christ Jesus abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. Alleluia. 2 Tim. 1:10

 Reflection:  The way the Baptismal life is engendered is by repentance and forgiveness as the Lord made plain on the road to Emmaus with His disicples who did not recognize Him.  The Lord taught them and then in the fullness of time, they saw it was the  Lord in the breaking of the bread as He gives us His bread for our journey as His Body, His Church.  In His Word, the Lord Jesus gave them a heart to be taught and to burn with the fire of His life and love.  In the disciples’ despair the Lord Jesus lifted them up. His Word, Incarnate, Written, Taught and Preached  is always central, foremost in our life together for His formation of His resurrectional life in us as His baptized children.  “A child listens to his parents, from whom he was conceived and born, speaking to him with heart-felt desire and love. If you are born of God, then you will gladly listen to God the Lord speaking to you in His Word-especially regarding the resurrection of Christ, by which He has brought such precious gifts along for for us…O Holy Trinity, You Self-sufficient Love, ignite also in our heart this fire of Your Love!” ( Rev. Pastor and Professor Johann Gerhard, +1637)

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