Monday, April 09, 2007

Kristus är uppstånden! Halleluja!

(That's Swedish for, Christ is risen! Alleluia!)

An Easter Sermon from St. John Chrysostom

If any person is devout and loves God,
let him come to this radiant triumphant feast.

If any person is a wise follower,
let him enter into the joy of his Lord, rejoicing.

If any have fasted long
let him now receive refreshment.

If any have labored from the first hour,
let him today receive his just reward.

If any came at the third hour,
let him keep the feast with thankfulness.

If any arrived at the sixth hour,
let him have no misgivings for he shall not be deprived.

If any delayed to the ninth hour,
let him draw near, fearing nothing.

If any have waited even until the eleventh hour,
let him not be alarmed at this tardiness.

For the Lord will accept the last
even as the first.

Therefore, all of you,
enter into the joy of your Lord.

Rich and poor together,
hold high festival.

Diligent and heedless,
honor this day.

Both you who have fasted, and you who did not fast,
rejoice together today.

The table is full;
all of you, feast sumptuously.

The calf is fatted;
let no one go away hungry.

Enjoy the feast of faith;
receive the riches of God's mercy.

Let no one bewail his poverty,
for the fullness of the kingdom is revealed.

Let no one weep for his iniquities,
for forgiveness shines forth from the grave.

Let no one fear death,
for the savior's death has set us free.

He who was held prisoner by death
has annihilated it.

By descending into death,
he made death captive.

He angered it
when it tasted of his flesh.

Isaiah saw this, and he cried:
Death was angered when it encountered you
in the lower regions.

It was angered,
for it was defeated.

It was angered,
for it was mocked.

It was angered,
for it was abolished.

It was angered,
for it was overthrown.

It was angered,
for it was bound in chains.

It received a body
and it met God face to face.

It took earth
and encountered heaven.

It took that which is seen
and fell upon the unseen.

O Death,
where is your sting?

O Grave,
where is your victory?

Christ is risen
and you are overthrown.

Christ is risen
and the devils have fallen.

Christ is risen
and the angels rejoice.

Christ is risen
and life reigns.

Christ is risen
and not one dead remains in the grave.

For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep, and to him be glory and honor, even to eternity.

I was ordained September 13, 1992. Strangely, it wasn't until a few years later that it clicked in my mind that September 13 is also the Feast Day for St. John Chrysostom. Strange because in seminary he quickly became one of my favorite Church Fathers. Strange because, though he isn't a patron saint for pastors, tradition regards him as the best preacher in the history of the Church (hence Chrysostom, which means "golden mouth"). Someone worth emulating, no?

I offer this to any readers for Easter Monday. Alleluia! He is risen Indeed!

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