“The godly women hastened to You with myrrh, O Christ. The one whom they had sought with tears, as a dead man, they worshipped as the living God! And they proclaimed the mystical pascha to Your disciples.” (Paschal Canon, Troparion of Ode 7)
The women hastened to the Tomb that Sunday morning, looking for “a dead man.” But the One they found, the One revealed to them, was “the living God.” Hence the “mystical pascha” (i.e., “passover” or “transition”) that they proclaimed to the disciples was not only the Lord’s transition from death to life, but their own, the women’s, transition from merely-human dedication to “a dead man” to faith in “the living God.” Because their beloved Teacher was “more” than they had recognized. In His resurrection, Jesus Christ exceeded all their...
“It is the day of resurrection! Let us be radiant, O people! Pascha! The Lord's Pascha! For Christ our God has brought us from death to life, and from earth unto heaven, as we sing the song of victory!” (Paschal Canon, Irmos-hymn of Ode 1)
Transitions can be hard. And yet I am invited, on “the day of the resurrection,” to join the Lord’s Great Transition, – the Lord’s “Pascha” or “Passover” from death to life, and from earth to heaven. This “day” is every day in the life of anyone who believes in the risen Lord; “This is the day which the Lord has made” (Ps 117/118: 24), also this Friday of Bright Week, on which I am, once again, invited to join “the Lord’s Pascha” and to transition from any death I may have slipped into, into Life in Christ.
“Shine, shine (Φωτίζου, φωτίζου, Светися, светися), O New Jerusalem, for the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. Dance now and be glad, O Sion, and you rejoice, pure Mother of God, at the arising of Him to Whom you gave birth.” (Paschal Canon, Irmos of Ode 9)
Here are some fun facts about this well-known hymn of our Paschal services. It begins by paraphrasing the words of Isaiah 60: 1, according to the Septuagint: “Shine, shine, O Jerusalem (Φωτίζου, φωτίζου, Ιερουσαλημ),” says Isaiah, “for your light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.” The hymn is referring these words to the “new” Jerusalem or Sion, – the Church, – in other words, all of us.
And finally the hymn addresses yet another image of the Church, the Mother of God. She classically signifies the Church, because...
“Come, let us drink a new drink (Δεῦτε πόμα πίωμεν καινόν, Приидите пиво пием новое), / not one miraculously brought forth from a barren rock / but the Fountain of Incorruption, / springing forth from the tomb of Christ, // in Whom we are strengthened.“ (Paschal Canon, Irmos of Ode 3)
The Lord’s resurrection changes things, including our “drinking habits.” That is to say, the new Life and new Strength “springing forth from the tomb” is offered to me as a new “Fountain,” to which I can come and quench my inner “thirst,” or the hole in my heart. It is not merely water “brought forth from a barren rock,” as Moses did for his people in the water-less desert (Numbers 20: 11).
We “are strengthened” continuously, on a daily basis, in and through communion with Christ, Who walks with us on our cross...