Friday, April 22, 2011

Holy Saturday: Rejoice, O Adam

You, O Adam, are become unto us as Egypt,
for in you were we sold into bondage,
in you did we know a harsh taskmaster,
a stubborn and heart-hardened Pharaoh,
in you did sin bind us and death strike us down.

Your firstborn son, O Adam, was not flesh and blood, but death:
his birthright your offspring,
his inheritance Hades.
To him did we all go down and make obeisance.
To him were we all enslaved.

But God came to Horeb, O Adam,
and there appeared in the womb of the Virgin –
a bush burning but not consumed,
a womb bearing but undefiled,
holy ground on which God spoke his name in flesh and blood.

I am the God of your father –
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.
I have surely seen the oppression of my people in Egypt,
and I know their sorrows.
So I have come, O Adam; I will deliver them, O Egypt.

Behold, O Adam, the Paschal Lamb –
the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world – comes to you.
Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Let my people go.
Harken not to this word, O Death, and harden your heart, O Sin,
that the Lord may strike you with the rod of his power.

Look now, O Adam; see the Lamb slain,
high and lifted up on the tree of life, blood staining doorposts and lintels.
Now is judgment come upon you, O Egypt,
now is the rod of iron shattered,
now are the chains rent asunder.

Woe to your firstborn son, O Adam,
for death has come upon death and the sea of Hades is parted
as a curtain rent from top to bottom.
A way is made through the sea, through the veil,
for all your free children are led by cloud and fire, by wind and Spirit.

Rejoice in this Passover, O Adam,
for you, too, are set free
and made in Him a land of promise.
You are not left desolate but are taken by the hand
and led forth in triumphal procession.

Rejoice in this Passover, O Adam,
for death is trampled down by death,
bondage is bound, and Hades is despoiled.
Rejoice in this Passover, O Adam, for the Lamb has paid the debt of your sin,
and by his blood delivered your faithful children.

[I commend to your reading a reflection for Holy Saturday by St. Epiphanios of Salamis posted at Full of Grace and Truth: Christ's Descent Into Hades.]

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