On Holy Friday night, at the end of the Orthros service for Great and Holy Saturday (the Lamentations service), Fr. Matthew Howell reflects on the themes that we heard during the service. He explains how the procession that went around the church temple was not only a stroll through Wasilla, Alaska but was also a procession with Christ through Hades. He explains how Christ frees us from bondage to sin just as He delivered the Israelites from bondage in slavery to Egypt. He points out that Christ comes to free everyone from slavery to sin and death, yet He still gives us a choice as to whether we will follow Him out of Hades into the Kingdom of Heaven or whether we will stay bound in the darkness of sin. Along the way, he touches on baptismal vows, tears of repentance, the Dry Bones prophecy of Ezekiel (Ez. 37:1-14), the creation of mankind for Life rather than Death, the depths of our brokenness, and how Christ is the ultimate superhero who embarks on the ultimate rescue mission to free us from an eternity of corruption by breaking down the gates of Hades while reopening the gates of Paradise.
1 Cor. 1 Cor. 5:6-8; Gal. 3:13-14
BRETHREN, a little leaven leavens the whole lump. Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (Galatians 3.13-14) Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us – for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who hangs on a tree” – that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
On the next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ Therefore order the sepulcher to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead, ‘ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went and made the sepulcher secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.