Traditionally in the Resurrection Liturgy, rather than the priest delivering a sermon the sermon given by St. John Chrysostom is read. I present it here as the last of my postings for the Lenten season. I hope you have enjoyed this look into the Eastern church’s view of Great Lent.
Christ is Risen!
Devout and God-loving people, enjoy this kind and bright festival. Wise people, come and share joy with your Lord. You who have laboured in fasting, receive your deserved reward. You who have laboured from the first hour, come to the festival now! You who came at the third hour, rejoice! You who lingered until the sixth hour, celebrate! You who came at the ninth hour, do not be sad! You who managed to come only at the eleventh hour, do not be dismayed by your lateness. No-one will be deprived of heavenly joy. For our Lord is generous. He welcomes those who come last in the same way as those who come first. He is grateful to the first and rejoices in the last. He consoles those who came at the last hour, as if they had laboured from the first hour. He gives to everyone: those who laboured and those who wanted to labour. He receives the service and kisses the intention. He values the deed and praises the desire. All of you enter into the joy of the Lord: First and last, receive the reward! Wealthy and poor, rejoice with one another! Diligent and lazy, celebrate the festival! Those who have fasted and those who have not, be glad together. The feast is abundant, eat your fill! All of you enjoy the wealthy banquet of the faith and mercy of God. Let no-one go away hungry or offended. Let no-one be sad about their poverty, for the kingdom is now here for everyone. Let no-one weep over their sins, for forgiveness for all has burst with light from the grave. Let no-one be afraid of death, for the death of Jesus has freed us all. Embraced by death, He subdued death. Having descended into hell, He took hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of his flesh. Isaiah prophesied: “Hell was troubled, having met You in the underworld!” Hell was in mourning, for it was abolished! Hell was distressed, for it was condemned! Hell was impoverished, for it was deposed! Hell was destroyed, for it was bound! It took on a body, and touched God. It took on the earth, and met heaven. It took what it saw, and fell to where it did not expect! Death! Where is your sting? Hell! Where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are brought down. Christ is risen, and the demons have fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life triumphs. Christ is risen, and there are no dead in the grave. Christ has risen from the dead, become the firstborn of those who sleep and set into motion the resurrection of all. To Him be glory now and forever. Amen!
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