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A contemplation on the hymn, Ethve Ti-Anastasis (For the Resurrection), chanted on the Ninth Hour of Good Friday.
“For the resurrection of the dead who reposed in the faith of Christ, O Lord rest their souls.”
O my God and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Church has taught us that when we wake up early in the morning we remember your Holy Resurrection. The light that shines in the morning watch reminds us to look forward with happiness and joy for the resurrection of the dead and eternal life. And now even at the ninth hour when we behold Your Cross, watching you suffer, the Church still reminds us that after this long and dark tunnel, there is light; “… and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified; and on the third day he will be raised” (Mt. 20:18, 19).
Now we can hope: hope that with Your death on the cross You will give us life; hope that when a friend, a relative, a sister, a brother or a parent reposes, we are assured that they will rise in glory and eternal joy; hope that no matter the obstacles of life on this earth, all will be lost and forgotten once we come into Your light; hope that one day we will come and sit at Your bosom and find true rest. You said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live” (John 11:25). O Lord, help me today to overcome my weaknesses and my iniquities so that I may live in hope and grow in understanding through Your Holy Resurrection, which comes through the knowledge of Your Holy death.
As we chant the hymn “For the Resurrection” in the ninth hour of Good Friday, we begin the hymn by a rising tune, by which we are implored to rise with the Lord on the cross, yet still remembering His coming resurrection. The hymn is telling us to lift up our hearts to God and ask for forgiveness. It is telling us to let go and rise in reverence to meet our Lord in Paradise. Then from here the hymn takes us into the words of “the dead who reposed in the faith” with a sad, short, but continuous whirling tune, reminding us that the King is on the cross and that to rise we must die in Him. We are also given the opportunity to remember those who have reposed before us in the faith, to ask for their intercessions.
Then, the hymn begins to elongate at the words “of Christ.” Here the hymn begins its long chant on the emphases on Christ, giving us the opportunity to meditate on our Father, our King, our Master and our Friend, longing to one day see Him forever, telling us “come to me and you will find rest.” Joyful are we to hear the words of Christ and to chant it with true lowliness and meekness. It is the word that must ring in our hearts forever. And finally we sing in a fast tune to end the introduction of the hymn, by chanting “O Lord rest their souls” not forgetting the theme and meaning of the words that were just chanted.
“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death” (Phil. 3:10).