Happy Easter! I took Gene Veith’s suggestion and during Lent I read through the Treasury of Daily Prayer ( A GIGANTIC devotion book published by Concordia Publishing House in 2008. One of my favorite Christmas presents!). It takes one on a relatively straightforward and guided apporoach to prayer, providing the offices and liturgies for individual prayer along with their readings. Included in these readings are a Psalm, two scripture readings and a meditation from a church father. I would like to share with you what John Chrysostom has written concering Christ’s resurrection on this glorious easter day. Enjoy and God bless!
Christ is resen! He is risen indeed!
If any man is a devout lover of God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast. If any man is a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of the Lord. If any has labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense. If any has [worked] from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If any has come at the third hour, let him have no misgivings; because he will in no [way] be deprived thereof. If any has delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing. If any has tarried even until the elventh hour let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; He gives rest to him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as to him who has [worked] from the first hour. And he shows mercy on the last, and cares for the first [and to the one he gives, and upon the other he bestows gifts]. And He both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honors the acts and praises the offering.
Wherefore, enter you all into the joy of your Lord; and receive your reward [, boththe first, and likewise the second]. You rich and poor together, hold high festival. You sober and you heedless, honor the day. Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden; feast you all sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go away hungry. All of you, enjoy the feast of faith: receive all the riches of loving-kindness. Let no one bewail his povery, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shone forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free. He who was held prisoner of it, has annihilated it. By descending into Hell, he has made Hell captive. He angered it when it tasted his flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: Hell, said he, was angered, when it encountered You in the lower regions. It was angered for it was abolished. It was angered, for it was mocked. [It was angered, for it was slain.] It was angered for it was overthrown. it was angered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face. it took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen. O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory?
Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are 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, has become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.
John Chrysostom (347-407), Archbishop of Constantinople, was a notable Christian bishop and preacher from the fourth and fifth centuries in Syria and Constantinople. He is famous for eloquence in public speaking and his denunciation of abuse of authority in the Church and in the Roman Empire of the time. He had notable ascetic sensibilities. After his death he was named Chrysostom, which comes from the Greek Χρυσόστομος, “golden-mouthed.” (Mini-biography taken from http://orthodoxwiki.org/John_Chrysostom)