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Contemplations on the recitative hymn for the Resurrection of our Lord, Tennav.

We look at the Resurrection…

We look at the Resurrection of Christ

We look in awe, we look in hope. We look at Him because it is folly to look at ourselves. We look at Him because if He does not, we are not. We look, but we look without worry… We look as those who are sitting on the verge of death, hoping on Him that He will rise, because His resurrection means our own!  We look and shall not be disappointed, because He rose. He conquered death, because He has authority as author of Life. We look, O Lord, and we tremble.

We worship the Holy Jesus Christ…

We worship the Holy Jesus Christ our Lord who alone is without sin.

My soul, here is for you another reason to hope! That He alone is without sin is not without consequence to me, the sinner! For indeed, He “but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness” (Phil. 2:7), and yet, though being tempted even as we were, in the harshest of climates and conditions, He sinned not. My soul, He had a body like mine, a soul like mine, a spirit like mine, and He conquered. He put them into subjection even as I am called to do. If He had not done it, in what could I possibly hope? But indeed, He is our hope, and because of what He has done, “Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Phil. 2:9-10).

We bow down to Your Cross…

We bow down to Your Cross, O Christ, and we praise and glorify Your Resurrection.

What a marvellous thing, to bow before the supposed sign of weakness! In Your weakness You showed what is greater than might! For You alone bore the sins of the world on our behalf. That cursed tree became the tree of life! That sign of defeat became for us the sign of victory! That condemnation on You, O Lord, became for us the gateway of freedom!

What a joy that we can worship before Your cross, but we could not bow before it if You had not conquered in Your Resurrection. The victory was complete when You were not left in the tomb as dead – we can say what we did of Your death only because You rose!

What can death hold upon Him who created Life? In Your Holy Resurrection you truly conquered death, in Your resurrection you created in us a joy beyond all joys, for we knew that the promise of our own resurrection is true – that indeed we can spend eternity with You! What is more glorious than this, that the Author of Life conquered death so that we might not only have freedom, but also the opportunity to live with Him forever? That after the Resurrection You prepared for us a place with You, in the place of Your abode? My soul is compelled to praise and glorify You!

How befitting, also, that the Church has us praise His death and Resurrection – for it also gives us a hope. That after the Lord’s tribulation came the glorious morn. So, also, O my soul, must I remember the same. That I am no better than my Lord, I will suffer trials and tribulations, but will not fear because after the pain comes the Resurrection, I am of good cheer, because He has overcome the world!

For You are our Lord…

For You are our Lord and we know none but You, and after Your name we are called.

You are our Lord, we who were sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death. For we were the Gentiles, we are the ones of whom it was said that the crumbs of the table were of more dignity than us. And yet you called us, and we heard Your voice, and we loved You after You loved us. We followed You after we were called, and we, the Church, have learned Your voice, and recognize it. If a foreign shepherd comes, we will not hear Him, because You are our true Shepherd, You will protect us. You will teach us how to follow, and how to keep each other from straying, After Your name we are called, and by Your name will they know us – we are the Christians, we are the followers of Christ. We serve Him who is Christ, the Anointed One. We follow Him who is Jesus, the Saviour. We follow Him who is Love, and by our love shall they know us.

You are our Lord, and hence you are our Commander. This means that we will not go to war unless at your bidding. This means that we will not run to the frontlines of war unless ordered. This means that we pledge our loyalty to You. This means that we would rather die in battle than betray You! I will not fear when I am compassed about by my enemies, because You will either come to my rescue, even if it means descending to the depths to pluck me from my imminent death…This You will do, this You have done, my Lord. My existence is Yours.

Come all you believers…

Come all you believers let us bow down to the Resurrection of Christ. Behold, through His Cross, joy has entered into the whole world.

We repeat this message again, but this time we cannot keep the joy to ourselves! It is something that we bring all others to! “Draw me after you, let us make haste” (Songs 1:4). We have been drawn, we have been looking in hope and waiting, and our hope was realized in Him. Now in ecstasy we cannot keep this joy to ourselves! Like Mary, we run from the tomb to the disciples and say, “Come, you believers! He is risen!” She went to the believers first, barely containing her joy at the Risen Lord! She had only known the Cross as an end before then, and now she saw the Cross as the beginning of that great Life! We share this, but we are lucky to have been born in this Resurrection!

What a joy, because we died with Him in resurrection, dying and staying in the tomb with Him, and then we were lifted up and given the Holy Spirit! What a joy doubled then, that His resurrection meant defeat of Satan, but it also meant that we, the people of all times and of all generations, could now share in it! This is a joy that cannot be contained; it is the joy that is preached by very nature of our lives!

Let us bless the Lord continually…

Let us bless the Lord continually, and glorify His Resurrection.

If we really are living in the joy of the Resurrection, and if we really realize what He endured on our behalf before that Victorious beginning for us, then we need not think twice – blessing Him continually for our very existence and life is a natural consequence! We bless and glorify Him, because if He is not risen, we are dead. If He is not risen, all is vain. If He is not risen…we taste the realness of death. But our Lord is Risen, He has conquered, and He has done it all in His great love for His creation. It is in our nature now to love Him…for we have died and risen with Him.

For He was patient and destroyed death…

For He was patient and destroyed death by His death.

Who is better to learn from than our God Incarnate? He has taught us that through patience, even through calamity and in the face of death, we must not despair, because it is in the moment of supposed darkness, that the might of God is revealed. In His death, when it seemed as though the world was suspended in time and a victory over God had occurred, the universe was in revolt.  The clouds darkened, the earth quaked, the sun hid its light… And what a shock must it have been for the Accuser, Lucifer, to find the God of Glory, Him presumed death, binding him. Imagine the shock of all those who went to the tomb and found it empty. Thoughts and looks can be deceiving; living on our emotions is futile. Look at Him, and have hope. Have patience in Him, because He is victory.

All joy befits you, O Mother of God…

All joy befits you, O Mother of God. For through you, Adam returned back to Paradise. And Eve gained grace to replace her sadness. Through you, she gained freedom once more as well as eternal salvation.

We hear of joy again, this time the joy of the Holy Virgin. Joy of course, for her and all women. The first Eve transgressed, the first Eve thought it not wrong to desire to know what God knows, to be like God. This second Eve, the Holy Virgin, submitted herself to the Lord, humble even when the Lord of Hosts Himself chose her! Instead of sadness at living in transgression, the Holy Virgin for her great love was rewarded with grace, not only grace in all her affairs, but the source of grace Himself, in her very womb. Instead of the bonds of sin, she was blessed with the First-fruit, the giver of Freedom. Through her, that old Eve could smile once more, because through her salvation for people of all generations and eternally, was achieved in the Word that came from her womb.

Through the Holy Theotokos, Adam rejoiced as well! For finally, Adam would see life, because his crime was placed on Another, his crime was placed on the only one who could bear it! He rejoiced that someone was found worthy to be this vessel, this vessel that brought forth the Good News Himself…Blessed are you, O Virgin, for we too rejoice in you, from you we have heard the Message that lifted us from Hades!

And we too, let us glorify you…

And we too, let us glorify you as a treasure of the Resurrection.

“Treasure of the resurrection” – what a beautiful title! A living treasure, a living jewel, a person of great value, priceless, for her role in the story of our Salvation. Could we not become treasures too? If we live in His resurrection and become bearers of that same Message of Salvation to others, are we not living treasures as being part of His great plan as well?

Hail to the sealed treasure…

Hail to the sealed treasure through which we were given life.

It is always by things hidden, by things that are sealed, locked up, do we ever find anything of value. If we parade virtue, if we boast spirituality, if we take pride at all – we have nothing to begin with. It is those of us who are sealed, who are internally at peace with our Lord, who have life. Through this stillness we can hear the quiet prodding of the Holy Spirit, we can see our Lord Jesus in His meekness, we can hear the soft voice of Almighty God in the breeze as the prophets before us… It is by hearing God in this way, that we are given God – God Who is life.

Hail to her who gave birth to Christ…

Hail to her who gave birth to Christ, our Lord who gave us life through His Resurrection.

Mary’s sealed treasure far outweighs our own. She had learned the virtue of humility and mastered it; she never boasted that she was the Mother of the Anointed One, even though it was in her power to do so. It is because of her sealed treasure that she was given Life Himself – and we are all benefiting from her meekness, because through her we also obtained Life in the Flesh – our Lord Jesus Christ the Incarnate Word of God, who gave us Life Eternal in His holy resurrection.

The angelic hosts were amazed…

The angelic hosts were amazed when they saw You counted among the dead. Yet you destroyed the power of death, O Saviour. You raised Adam with You and freed him from Hades.

Imagine what it must have been like for the angels to observe from heaven the mystery of the Incarnation! It must have filled them with great awe – that the Lord of hosts, to Whom they bow down to and worship, could now be seen in such a way. It would have been a thing of awe for them, to see their Master and Creator accepting to be one of us, to go through all that we do, including death. Yet, You dumbfounded all when You descended past the grave to the pits of Hades, to restore Adam and all our race once more to Paradise. Because You are Life, even your death is Life-Giving.

Why did you mix fragrant oil…

Why did you mix fragrant oil, weeping and mourning with each other, O followers of the Lord? The luminous angel said to the women carrying the spices. Look and be aware that the Saviour has risen from the dead.

The women, like we often do, could not look too far ahead, could not see the true hope that lies behind a terrible scene, because they (like us) are limited by their lack of foresight. They saw the situation based on physical facts and events, and at face value, a devastating event had occurred. Followers of the Lord, however, should seek to look at all events with the eyes of hope – and the reason why followers have any hope, is because of the Resurrection! We have this hope, and so we should never look at any trial or tribulation with a sad spirit – we need to look and be aware that our Lord knows all things, has conquered all things, and has dominion over all things – any event that happens in our lives is one that we can look at with hope, knowing that all things will work together for good, as Christ is risen.

The women rushed very early…

The women rushed very early to Your grave carrying fragrant oil while crying. But the angel stood before them saying, “The time of weeping is over, do not cry, but preach the Resurrection to the apostles.” The women came to your grave carrying fragrant oil and incense, O Saviour. They heard the angel say to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” And He being God is risen from the grave…

The women sought Him early, just as David the Prophet who says, “O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I watch” (Ps. 5:3). The women wasted no time doing things that were unnecessary – at the first available moment, they rose together to show their reverence for the Lord, regardless of their mental state of mind.

There is a time for weeping – our Lord did cry over Lazarus; but weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning: for the Lord is risen and triumphed over death and Satan! We must draw strength in the Lord, so that we too might be honest witnesses of the true hope of the Resurrection: that we might be like these women who preached the Resurrection to the Apostles. We must, like them, be living mirrors of that hope for our brothers and then to the world.

We must also learn, as the angel instructed, to look for God where we ought – to look for Him where there is life. If our eyes are locked on a sight of despair, if our minds are in that state, our hearts will shortly follow. It is in those pits of despair that we find death, and in despair we divorce ourselves from the Resurrected Lord who conquered death for us. A Christian cannot seek the Living God in this death; we must look up to Him in glory as one Who triumphed over death for us.

You gave birth, O Virgin…. Amen…

You gave birth, O Virgin, to the Giver of Life, and you saved Adam from sin. You gave joy to Eve instead of sorrow, and granted us life and salvation from corruption and alteration. You became our intercessor before God our Saviour, Who was incarnate of you.

Yes, you saved Adam and therefore you saved us as well. If you had not lived a life so virtuous, if you were not so spiritually fair, then the Lord would have waited to choose another, and Adam would be left in the grave. The Lord, however, found you so beautiful, that He chose you to be His vessel; He honoured you by allowing you to bear the Incarnate Word of God, the Giver of Life. Eve could cease her tears in Hades for the error she committed, because her Redeemer would be born of you, O Mary. The One born from you has freed her and us truly – He has renewed our nature, which had been changed after our fall – He has taken us from hardship to a place of privilege!

Truly He has honoured you far beyond what any of us can imagine. He loves you and hears your prayers, which you offer up on our behalf. Please, O Virgin, forget not your children who remember you here. Pray and intercede for us sinners, asking Him that He may have compassion on us, deliver us, and forgive us our sins.

Amen. Alleluia. Lord have mercy.

Verily, of a truth: He is risen, there is no greater Amen.