Saturday, August 23, 2008

On Pascha

The good Bishop of Sardis writes a creative account of the original Passover and then expounds on its significance in light of Christ:
On Pascha16 But while the sheep is being slaughtered,
and the Pascha is being eaten,
and the mystery is completed,
and the people is [sic] rejoicing,
and Israel is being sealed:
then came the angel to strike Egypt,
those uninitiated into a mystery,
those with no part in the Pascha,
those not sealed by the blood,
those not guarded by the spirit,
the hostile,
the faithless;
in one night he struck them and made them childless.


24 If anyone grasped the darkness
he was pulled away by death.
And one of the first-born,
grasping the material darkness in his hand,
as his life was stripped away,
cried out in distress and terror:
"Whom does my hand hold?
Whom does my soul dread?
Who is the dark one enfolding my whole body?
If it is a father, help me.
If it is a mother, comfort me.
If it is a brother, speak to me.
If it is a friend, support me.
If it is an enemy, depart from me, for I am a first-born."


34 What is this strange mystery,
that Egypt is struck down for destruction
and Israel is guarded for salvation?
Listen to the meaning of the mystery.


38 To each then is its own time:
the type has its own time,
the material has its own time,
the reality has its own time...


41 So the type was valuable in advance of the reality,
and the illustration was wonderful before its elucidation.
So the people were valuable before the church arose,
and the law was wonderful before the illumination of the Gospel.

42 But when the church arose and the Gospel came to be,
the type, depleted, gave up meaning to the truth:
and the law, fulfilled, gave up meaning to the Gospel.

Starting at about stanza 72, he starts getting hardcore on the Jews:
72 This is the one who has been murdered.
And where murdered?
In the middle of Jerusalem.
By whom? By Israel.
Why? Because he healed their lame,
and cleansed their lepers,
and enlightened their blind,
and raised up their dead;
and therefore he died.
Where is it written in the law and the prophets:
"They repaid me bad things for good and childlessness for my soul.
They planned wickedness for me saying:
'Let us tie up the just man because he is a nuisance to us'"?

73 What strange injustice have you done, O Israel?
You have dishonored the one who honored you,
you have disgraced the one who glorified you,
you have denied the one who owned you,
you have ignored the one who made you known,
you have murdered the one who gave you life.

74 O Israel, what have you done? ...

This is some really great stuff. I had a great time just reading it aloud last night. I recommend buying a copy of it, but you can read the whole thing here.