Friday morning, dark, raining, pouring, wet, really wet. Flood.
Friday, the 30th of October 2009.
Just another day, another Friday, in another month, in yet another year. Commute. Raining. Raining hard. No bike today, drop kids off. AM talk radio. Crisis. Bailouts. Bankruptcy. Terrorism. Radical Islamists, Detroit, four dead. Layoffs. More layoffs. The worst is yet to come. School budget crisis. No funds. No money. No jobs. Crisis, staff will be halved. Rain, more rain. December 21, 2012? The end is near? Really?
Friday morning. The third hour…9am – the beginning of the Passion. The Salvation of the World. How soon we forget that on the 6th day – at the 6th hour, the solution to all of the above problems was spoken in one final word, by The Word Himself “…finished…”. Yes, it is true, that in this life there will be troubles, trials, tribulations – and cold, dark, rainy Fridays… these might be of this world, but we follow the One who has overcome this world. And Friday is the day that opens the door to a new promise, a new day, to rays of sunshine amidst the clouds of darkness. Yes, indeed the axiom is true: “Thank God, – it’s Friday!” Not just as a ragged battle cry of relief for a small respite of 48 hours of no work called “weekend” – rather, a proclamation that this world is not what it seems. It ‘s not our true home, this is not our land. We are pilgrims. Travelers, in the Exodus, moving ever forward, each day to the land of Promise.
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” “Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit.”
“It is finished.”
But, in fact, it has just begun.
The curtain veil of separation is torn asunder. Graves open. Dead arise and walk. The Temple’s sacrificial system is put on notice, “Unblemished male lambs are not needed anymore.” For the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, has poured His blood upon us, and has cleansed us and claimed us as His own. The Good Shepherd, who gives up His life, has given it now – for me – for you – on Friday, the 6th day – at the 6th Hour for our salvation.
Good news? Hardly. It’s great news! Awesome, stupendous, miraculous, unbelievable news! For we who are dead in our sins and transgressions have been forgiven, and made alive. As the Blood of the Messiah trickles down the wood beams, from a dead tree, it becomes the Tree of Life, and soaks the earth, and a new Genesis occurs, a new creation bursts forth. The land, earth, water, air, fire, are sanctified, made Holy, and are set apart, consecrated, holy ground. Now, everything is Spiritual. Every thing is claimed in His Name. Everything is Holy.
So today, if you are reading this: “Remember today is more than rain.” More than darkness. More than the end of the week. Today is life. For death, the last enemy, (our only true enemy) has been swallowed up in victory. Jesus of Nazareth tramples down death by Death, and He has won for us the victory.
Hail to the Victor Valiant!
Hail to the conquering Hero!
Hail! Hail! (not to Michigan.) Hail to Christ our Lord, and our God!
Today is Your day Jesus, and we fast, and we pray, and we thank Your for your mercies.
Take time now to pray.
Now, even more than at other times, we should join in prayer with the Church, for every soul, delivered by Jesus, ought to have a sense of awe and gratitude, At this hour, corresponding to about twelve noon, the divine drama of our Lord’s sacrifice began. At Golgotha, “the place of the skull,” Jesus was nailed to the Cross like a criminal (Matthew 27:45 ff.; Mark 15:33 ff.; Luke 23:44 ff.). Do not just shudder, considering the terrible image, but rejoice in the infinite love of God Give Him grateful thanks, for by this, He has wrought our salvation.
O Christ God, on the sixth day and hour, You nailed to the Cross the sin which rebellious Adam committed in paradise. Tear asunder also the bond of our iniquities, and save us! You have wrought salvation in the midst of the earth, O Christ God. You stretched out Your all-pure hands upon the Cross; You gathered together all the nations that cry aloud to You: Glory to You, O Lord!
O God, Lord of hosts and Maker of all created things, who in Your great compassion and mercy sent down Your Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, for the redemption of mankind, and by His precious Cross destroyed the writing of our sins, thereby triumphing over the source and power of darkness: O Lord and Lover of man, accept also the thanksgiving and fervent prayers of us sinners. Deliver us from every dark and harmful transgression and from all the visible and invisible enemies which seek to destroy us. Nail our flesh to the fear of You, and do not incline our hearts to words or thoughts of guile. But wound our souls with Your love, that ever looking to You, and guided by You in the light, and beholding You, the Light ineffable and everlasting, we may offer ceaseless praise and thanksgiving to You: To the Father who has no beginning, together with Your only-begotten Son and Your all holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen. Prayer of St. Basil the Great
Through the prayers of our holy fathers, may the Lord have mercy on us. Amen.