I know I said I wasn't going to church tonight, but I couldn't stay away. I went to the Liturgy this morning, went to work, and then back to church for the Passion Gospels. It only lasted three hours this year - everybody really tried to keep it moving without rushing it.
It was wonderful. The Resurrection isn't complete without going through all the Passion Gospels first. When the cross was brought out and Antiphon XV was sung, I learned something. When you cry while doing a full prostration, your tears run downhill, which is up, and into your upper sinuses, and that burns a bit. Who knew? This is the first year that I've been able to just listen to Antiphon XV without being the one singing it.
Today He who hung the earth upon the waters is hung upon a tree. He who is the King of the angels wears a crown of thorns. He who covered the heavens with clouds is robed in the purple of mockery. He who delivered Adam in the Jordan is smitten on the face. The Bridegroom of the Church is nailed upon the Cross. The Son of the Virgin is pierced with a spear. We adore Thy sufferings, O Christ. Make us worthy also to behold Thy glorious Resurrection.
It's shattering, isn't it? His suffering makes possible our resurrection. This is the price of our sin. You know all of this so much better than I do, since you're already partaking of the resurrection.
Please pray for all of us as we complete the marathon of Holy Week - for our voices with so much chanting, our quads with so many prostrations, our tummies with so much fasting, our bodies with so little sleep. I'm heading to bed soon. I'll be at church three times tomorrow - at 8:30 for the Royal Hours, at 4:00 for Holy Friday Vespers, and at 6:00 for the Lamentations. Saturday morning at 9:00 we'll have the Liturgy and a baptism, then we'll all come back at 10:30 Saturday night for Great and Holy Pascha. We'll stay into the not-so-wee hours breaking our fast and celebrating. Then we'll be back at noon Sunday for Agape Vespers. After that I've been invited to a friend's house for more feasting and partying, centered around a ham. Can you imagine, after all these weeks of fasting, getting to eat ham? Amazing!
The joy of Pascha is coming. But tonight we're still at the Passion Gospels. He who hung the earth upon the waters is hung upon a tree. We mourn and weep, repent, feel contrition, and receive with gratitude the love of Christ.