“We give glory to You, Lord, who raised up Your cross to span the jaws of death” – St. Ephrem of Edessa

April 4, 2015

originally posted by Fr. Al Kimel at Pontifications in April 2005

“We give glory to You, Lord, who raised up Your cross to span the jaws of death” – St. Ephrem of Edessa

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Death trampled our Lord underfoot, but He in His turn treated death as a highroad for His own feet. He submitted to it, enduring it willingly, because by this means He would be able to destroy death in spite of itself. Death had its own way when our Lord went out from Jerusalem carrying His cross; but when by a loud cry from that cross He summoned the dead from the underworld, death was powerless to prevent it.

Death slew Him by means of the body which He had assumed, but that same body proved to be the weapon with which He conquered death. Concealed beneath the cloak of His manhood, His godhead engaged death in combat; but in slaying our Lord, death itself was slain. It was able to kill natural human life, but was itself killed by the life that is above the nature of man.

Death could not devour our Lord unless He possessed a body, neither could hell swallow Him up unless He bore our flesh; and so He came in search of a chariot in which to ride to the underworld. This chariot was the body which He received from the Virgin; in it He invaded death’s fortress, broke open its strong-room and scattered all its treasure.

At length He came upon Eve, the mother of all the living. She was that vineyard whose enclosure her own hands had enabled death to violate, so that she could taste its fruit; thus the mother of all the living became the source of death for every living creature. But in her stead Mary grew up, a new vine in place of the old. Christ, the new life, dwelt within her. When death, with its customary impudence, came foraging for her mortal fruit, it encountered its own destruction in the hidden life that fruit contained. All unsuspecting, it swallowed Him up, and in so doing released life itself and set free a multitude of men.

He who was also the carpenter’s glorious son set up His cross above death’s all-consuming jaws, and led the human race into the dwelling place of life. Since a tree had brought about the downfall of mankind, it was upon a tree that mankind crossed over to the realm of life. Bitter was the branch that had once been grafted upon that ancient tree, but sweet the young shoot that has now been grafted in, the shoot in which we are meant to recognise the Lord whom no creature can resist.

We give glory to You, Lord, who raised up Your cross to span the jaws of death like a bridge by which souls might pass from the region of the dead to the land of the living. We give glory to You who put on the body of a single mortal man and made it the source of life for every other mortal man. You are incontestably alive. Your murderers sowed Your living body in the earth as farmers sow grain, but it sprang up and yielded an abundant harvest of men raised from the dead.

Come then, my brothers and sisters, let us offer our Lord the great and all-embracing sacrifice of our love, pouring out our treasury of hymns and prayers before Him who offered His cross in sacrifice to God for the enrichment of us all.

St Ephrem of Edessa


Holy Saturday around the Blogosphere 2015

April 4, 2015

These links are in fairly random order…, but represent some of the good resources that are being posted today for Holy Saturday.

Lent & Beyond Holy Saturday entries  (several new entries posted already… more to come later)

Ohio Anglican:  Collect and Scripture readings for Holy Saturday

Biola Lent Project:  Devotional for Holy Saturday

Kendall Harmon:  A Prayer for Holy Saturday (I)

Kendall Harmon: The Sound of Perfect Silence

Anglican Mainstream: Meditation for Holy Saturday

Archbishop Cramner blog: Easter Eve: dead, buried, bereft

Trinity School for Ministry:  Holy Saturday Devotional

Godspace:  Even Resurrection Pauses For Sabbath Rest

Desiring God: He Descended into Hell? Holy Saturday

Prydain:  For Easter Eve: a reading from Augustine of Hippo

Give Us This Day (Fr. Charles Erlandson) – Easter Even – John 19:38-42

Emily Polis Gibson – Upon our Saviour’s Tomb, wherein never man was laid

Malcolm Guite – Check out his 14 Sonnets for the Stations of the Cross (especially sonnets 13 & 14)

Scotty Smith: A Prayer for Saturday of Holy Week

Patrick Comerford: Through Lent with Vaughan Williams (46): ‘Dona nobis pacem’ 6 ‘Dona nobis pacem’

Dean of Durham: Harrowing Hell: the significance of Easter Eve

Transfigurations:  Holy Saturday (Psalm 88)

Vicar’s Versicles: Holy Saturday – Meditate in Silence

A new poem from Teresa Roberts Johnson: To His Mother on Holy Saturday

Music for Holy Saturday:  I Called to God (Jonah 2:2-9) Patrick Schlabs

CT Magazine:  Sitting, Waiting, and Hoping in the Tomb of Jesus

Emily Polis Gibson:  Waiting in Hope, Brought to Our Senses

John Ortberg:  In between despair and joy

Cardiphonia:  The Canticle of Jonah for Holy Saturday.  (Also at Cardiphonia, check out several older entries including: Bruce Benedict’s original Holy Saturday hymn / poem:  “Death Tasted Hope in Christ’s last Breath,” and their compilation of Songs & Hyms for Holy Saturday)

Wow… I can’t ever remember seeing so many excellent and meaty reflections for Holy Saturday before…!  It’s been a blessing to have some time to read, reflect, and collate these devotionals and resources!

 


Links for Holy Saturday

April 4, 2015

Holy_Saturday

We’ve not traditionally blogged much on Holy Saturday, but here are some links to past entries and some good sites for those looking for prayers, music and devotionals.

All our Holy Saturday entries

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Resources & Compilations

Poems for Holy Saturday

NEW: Holy Saturday around the Blogosphere 2015

Holy Saturday around the blogosphere (2014)

Kendall Harmon’s wealth of Holy Saturday entries

Holy Week: Index of Holy Week devotionals, prayers, quotes and resources here at Lent & Beyond

A collection of fantastic Holy Week Devotions from the Pontifications blog from 2004

More Pontifications Lent, Holy Week & Easter Devotionals (from 2005)

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Quotes & Devotionals

NEW: Henri Nouwen on Holy Saturday “The Day of God’s Solitude”

NEW: “Life lock’d in death, heav’n in a shell!” – Henry Vaughan

Holy Saturday: Death has seized our Lord Jesus Christ; but shall not keep its hold on Life

WA Criswell: He is dead… He is dead… He is dead. Then, then then…

Lent Quotes: St. Cyril of Jerusalem – He vouchsafed salvation

Three Spiritual Classics for Holy Saturday (from the Pontifications blog archives)

A Homily from Saint Ephrem of Syria

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Music & Poems

Poems for Holy Saturday

Palestrina: Lamentations for Holy Saturday, performed by the Tallis Scholars

Classic CCM for Holy Saturday into Easter: Christian Stephens’ The Descent, and Arise

A Classic CCM Song for Holy Saturday – He Holds the Keys (Steve Green)


Max Lucado – the Main Event

April 3, 2015

He_Chose_Nails_CDThe Cross IS the Main Event of human history.

Listen to Max Lucado’s reflection on this truth from the Holy Week musical “He Chose the Nails” (a great CD released in 2000, accompanying Max Lucado’s devotional of the same name – now out of print.)

 

 

Here is a partial transcript of the words:

[…] History has only one main event.
Scripture has only one main event.
Others matter but only one is essential . . .
David’s defeat of Goliath might reduce your timidity but only the cross prepares you for eternity.

For if there is no cross of Christ, then there is no truth to Christ . . .

To remove the cross is to remove the hingepin from the door of hope, the door of your hope.
For if there is no cross, then there is no sacrifice for sin.
If there is no sacrifice for sin, how will you face the sinless God?
Will you cleanse your own sin?

And if there is no cross of Christ, then there is no resurrection of Christ.
And if there is no resurrection, how will you live again?
Will you push back your own grave?

[…]

Let there be no mistake, the cross is not an event in history,
it is The Event of History.

– words courtesy of Janell Price’s blog Releasing the Word


Good Friday entries at Kendall Harmon’s TitusOneNine (2009 – 2015)

April 3, 2015

Rather than just linking to Kendall Harmon’s Holy Week category at TitusOneNine as I’ve been wont to do on Good Friday in past years, I thought it would be good if I did a round up of some of Kendall’s best Good Friday entries from today (so far) and years’ past…  As I did in last night’s Maundy Thursday roundup, I’ll post several prayers in full, and then post links to quotes, poems, music, sermon excerpts, etc.

A Prayer for Good Friday (I)

Lord Jesus Christ, who for the redemption of mankind didst ascend the cross, that thou mightest enlighten the world that lay in darkness: gather us this day with all they faithful to that same holy cross; that, gazing in penitence upon thy great sacrifice for us, we may be loosed from all our sins, and entering into the mystery of thy passion, be crucified to the vain pomp and power of this passing world; and finding our glory in the cross alone, we may attain at last thy everlasting glory, where thou, the lamb that once was slain, reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

A Prayer for Good Friday (II)

O Christ, who by the thorns pressed upon thy head hast drawn the thorns from the sorrows of this world, and given us a crown of joy and peace: Make us so bold as never to fear suffering, nor to suffer without cheerfulness in thy service; to the glory of thy holy name.

A Prayer for Good Friday (III)

Lord Christ, who didst enter into thy triumph by the hard and lonely way of the cross: May thy courage and steadfast loyalty, thy unswerving devotion to the Father’s will, inspire and strengthen us to tread firmly and with joy the road which love bids us to take, even if it leads through suffering, misunderstanding, and darkness. We ask it for thy sake, who for the joy that was set before thee endured the cross, despising the shame, O Lord, our strength and our Redeemer.

A Prayer for Good Friday (IV)

O God, whose blessed Son endured the loneliness and darkness of the cross, that we might enjoy eternal fellowship with thee: Grant that amidst life’s shadows we may know that we are never forsaken, but that we are ever walking in the light of thy countenance; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

A Prayer of William Temple

Lord Jesus Christ, who didst for me endure the horror of deep darkness, teach me by the depth of thine agony the vileness of my sin, and so bind me to thyself in bonds of gratitude and love that I may be united with thee in thy perfect sacrifice, my Saviour, my Lord, and my God.

A Prayer of John Wesley

O holy and ever-blessed Jesus, who being the eternal Son of God and most high in the glory of the Father, didst vouchsafe in love for us sinners to be born of a pure virgin, and didst humble thyself unto death, even the death of the cross : Deepen within us, we beseech thee, a due sense of thy infinite love; that adoring and believing in thee as our Lord and Saviour, we may trust in thy infinite merits, imitate thy holy example, obey thy commands, and finally enjoy thy promises; who with the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest, one God, world without end.

And Another Good Friday Prayer

O holy and adorable Redeemer, by whose condemnation we are acquitted, by whose stripes we are healed, by whose death we have life, by whose cross we gain our crown: Keep us, we beseech thee, ever mindful of thy boundless love; and when thou dost call on us to bear for a while thy cross, like Simon of old, make us to rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer for thy sake, and accept our feeble sacrifice, through the merits of thine eternal redemption. (W. E. Scudamore (Rector of Ditchingham and Fellow of Saint John’s College, Cambridge)

Still Another Good Friday Prayer

O God, the Father of mankind, who didst suffer thine only Son to be set forth as a spectacle despised, derided, and scornfully arrayed, yet in his humiliation to reveal his majesty: Draw us, we beseech thee, both to behold the Man and to worship the King, immortal, eternal, world without end. Amen.

A Prayer for Good Friday (IX)

Hear us, O merciful Lord, and remember now the hour in which thou didst commend thy blessed spirit into the hands of thy heavenly Father; and so assist us by this thy most precious death, that dying unto the world, we may live unto thee; and that at the hour of our departing from this mortal life, we may be received into thine everlasting kingdom, there to reign with thee, world without end.

A Prayer for Good Friday (VII)

Dear Lord, who hast blessed us with the gift of family life, that we may learn to love and care for others: We praise thee for the example of thy Son Jesus Christ, who even when deserted and betrayed by closest friends took thought for his mother and his disciple. Open our eyes to recognize in all men the claims of kinship, and stir our hearts to serve them as brethren called with us into the sonship of thy love.

A Prayer for Good Friday (VI)

Almighty and eternal God, who in thy great love didst give thine only Son to die for our sins, and for the sins of the whole world: Enable us, we beseech thee, by thy Holy Spirit, to worship thee with reverence, and meditate with humility upon those mighty acts by which thou didst bring redemption to thy people; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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Poems, Quotes, Sermon Excerpts…

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MUSIC & SERMONS – Audio & Video links(I’m in the process of checking these links, not all may be working)


Some short Good Friday quotes

April 3, 2015

This is my first Holy Week on Twitter, and several pastors and Christian leaders have been tweeting some very encouraging and meaningful short quotes and prayers for Good Friday.  I thought it would be good to compile some of the most striking quotes here.

 


Good Friday Quotes. John Piper – The Intentionality of Christ’s Death

April 3, 2015

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us. (1 John 3:16)

The love of Christ for us in his dying was as conscious as his suffering was intentional. If he was intentional in laying down his life, it was for us. It was love.

“When Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1).

Every step on the Calvary road meant, “I love you.”

Therefore, to feel the love of Christ in the laying down of his life, it helps to see how utterly intentional it was.

Look at what Jesus said just after that violent moment when Peter tried to cleave the skull of the servant, but only cut off his ear.

Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” (Matthew 26:52–54)

It is one thing to say that the details of Jesus’s death were predicted in the Old Testament. But it is much more to say that Jesus himself was making his choices precisely to see to it that the Scriptures would be fulfilled.

That is what Jesus said he was doing in Matthew 26:54. “I could escape this misery, but how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”

I am not choosing to take the way out that I could take because I know the Scriptures. I know what must take place. It is my choice to fulfill all that is predicted of me in the Word of God.

from here:

http://solidjoys.desiringgod.org/en/devotionals/every-calvary-step-was-love

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-intensity-of-christs-love-and-the-intentionality-of-his-death


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