Monday, April 25, 2011

This is the night

I wish I had time to write, to process the events of the past week--from the six-hour procession around the city with the Bishop on Palm Sunday, to the night tainted by a murder on my street between leaving Christ weeping in the garden on Thursday night and observing his death Friday at noon, to faith in the resurrected Christ on Sunday that begins the new creation even on the very street on which I saw a dead man lie three nights earlier. You may get a lot of Easter posts as I process it all over the summer (if survive [academically] the next two weeks).

In the mean time, as we are still in some ways living in the night that the resurrected Christ has nevertheless entered, as the empty tomb still confuses us his friends who cannot always see him in a way we would expect, I thought I'd copy the words from the Easter vigil service on Saturday night, the night we celebrated the resurrection before even Mary Magdalen had discovered the empty tomb. These words take more faith than I can muster sometimes—try saying O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer! while a warm-but-dead body lies on your friends' yard, for example—but the Church says them nonetheless, and stands together in the faith that his Resurrection gives us.

Rejoice, my friends; rejoice, my neighborhood: Christ is risen, even as the night lingers.

* * *
Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!

Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!

Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God's people!

It is truly right
that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam's sin to our eternal Father!

This is our passover feast,
when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.

This is the night
when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slavery
and led them dry-shod through the sea.

This is the night
when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin!

This is the night
when Christians everywhere,
washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.

This is the night
when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.

What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.

O happy fault,
O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!

Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!

Of this night scripture says:
"The night will be as clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy."

The power of this holy night dispels all evil,
washes guilt away, restores lost innocence,
brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.

Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth
and man is reconciled with God!

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