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Archive for the ‘Easter’ Category

This week Eastertide runs into Ascensiontide, and, to mark this important segue in the Church calendar, I posted this essay at Lantern Hollow Press’s blog. I conceived the Eastertide essay as a sort of companion piece to this one on the Ascension. Meanwhile, my friend Carrie Givens had taken my short post on baseball and, like a master gardener turning a few seeds into a bed of flowers, written this essay, published yesterday in The Curator.

I add this brief postscript to point out a common thread that runs through the four posts: namely, they all have to do with heaven and earth, and their relationship to one another.

Now one might look at what is impressed upon what — heavenly patterns impressed upon earthly things — and say the heavens lord it over earth, imposing upon her a killing perfection. But, as Carrie duly notes, that doesn’t take into account the strange, resilient scrappiness built into earth by God from the beginning: “Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?”  (1) Neither does it account for the faithful Priest who has entered into heaven itself — who was made like to his flesh-and-blood brothers and sisters, and gained admission to the heavenly of heavenlies precisely by means of marks and blood.

The prodigal made it home indeed — by a perfect hook slide that avoided his elder brother’s tag, and left dirt on his pants and a strawberry on his elbow. And the elegant heavens received the gritty prodigal with open arms, and blessed the dirt and the strawberry. No soap or band-aid necessary.

570_hook_slide

(1) Ecclesiastes 7:13 (AV)

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Rise heart; thy Lord is risen.  Sing his praise
                                                  Without delayes,
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise
                                                  With him mayst rise:
That, as his death calcined thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and much more, just.
 
Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part
                                                  With all thy art.
The crosse taught all wood to resound his name,
                                                  Who bore the same.
His stretched sinews taught all strings, what key
Is best to celebrate this most high day.
 
Consort both heart and lute, and twist a song
                                                  Pleasant and long:
Or, since all musick is but three parts vied
                                                  And multiplied,
O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part,
And make up our defects with his sweet art.

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A human touch! a pang of death!
    And in a low delight
Thou liest, waiting for new breath.
    For morning out of night.
 
Thou risest up: the earth is fair,
    The wind is cool; thou art free!
Is it a dream of hell’s despair
    Dissolves in ecstasy?
 
That man did touch thee! Eyes divine
    Make sunrise in thy soul;
Thou seest love in order shine:—
    His health hath made thee whole!
 
Thou, sharing in the awful doom,
    Didst help thy Lord to die;
Then, weeping o’er his empty tomb,
    Didst hear him Mary cry.
 
He stands in haste; he cannot stop;
    Home to his God he fares:
“Go tell my brothers I go up
    To my Father, mine and theirs.”
 
Run, Mary! lift thy heavenly voice;
    Cry, cry, and heed not how;
Make all the new-risen world rejoice—
    Its first apostle thou!

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ARE there any who are devout lovers of God?
Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival!

Are there any who are grateful servants?
Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!

Are there any weary with fasting?
Let them now receive their wages!

If any have toiled from the first hour,
let them receive their due reward;
If any have come after the third hour,
let him with gratitude join in the Feast!
And he that arrived after the sixth hour,
let him not doubt; for he too shall sustain no loss.
And if any delayed until the ninth hour,
let him not hesitate; but let him come too.
And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour,
let him not be afraid by reason of his delay.
For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first.
He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour,
as well as to him that toiled from the first.

To this one He gives, and upon another He bestows.
He accepts the works as He greets the endeavor.
The deed He honors and the intention He commends.
Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord!

First and last alike receive your reward;
rich and poor, rejoice together!
Sober and slothful, celebrate the day!
You that have kept the fast, and you that have not,
rejoice today for the Table is richly laden!

Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one.
Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith.
Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!

Let no one grieve at his poverty,
for the universal kingdom has been revealed.

Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again;
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.

Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.
He destroyed Hell when He descended into it.
He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh.

Isaiah foretold this when he said,
“You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below.”
Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with.
It was in an uproar because it is mocked.
It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed.
It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated.
It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive.

Hell took a body, and discovered God.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.

O death, where is thy sting?
O Hell, where is thy victory?

Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!

Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead;
for Christ having risen from the dead,
is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!

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