Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!
Easter Sunday was a joyous day at Holy Cross parish as we gathered to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We had one of the largest congregations assembled to pray Morning Prayer that I can remember, and the church was filled for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Our Property Warden even put out folding chairs.
The chapel was beautifully adorned with many Easter lilies contributed by members of the church family, and bright spring flowers were on the altar. Our new church choir sang for the first time as a vested choir. They processed in with the clergy and then out again with them after the Liturgy.
There were cries of Christ is Risen!, with the response He is Risen Indeed!, at the beginning of the Liturgy, just before the sermon, and again just before the final blessing. The music was glorious as we worshipped before the Throne of Grace with angels and archangels, and all the company of heaven; and we heard an Easter Message from St. John Chrysostom that he originally delivered in AD 407 - some 1606 years ago. Though “dead,” he is alive with Christ and still speaks to us today. Christ is Risen and Hades has been razed! O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? Christ is Risen, and you, O death, are annihilated! Christ is Risen, and the demons are cast down! Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice! Christ is Risen, and Life reigns! Christ is Risen, and our lives will never be the same!
During the administration of the sacrament of Holy Communion the choir sang, “O Lord I am not worthy...” as communicants fell upon their knees at the communion rail to receive their Risen Lord in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. At the end of the Liturgy the congregation came forward to receive a red Easter Egg and to be greeted individually with the good news that Christ is Risen! This ancient Christian tradition has always been kept at Holy Cross parish. The recessional hymn was the joyous and triumphant Hail thee, festival day! by Venantius Honorius Fortunatus (AD 530-609).
Easter is the Feast of Feasts in the Church and the celebration continues. You can join in the celebration of Christ’s triumph over the grave during the Octave of Easter. The Holy Eucharist will be celebrated during the Easter Octave on Wednesday, April 3rd, at 12:10 PM, Thursday, April 4th, at 7:00 AM, and on Sunday, April 7th, at 10:00 AM. As St. John Chrysostom has said, “Are there here devout lovers of God? Enjoy this beautiful bright festival! Are there any here who are wise servants? Rejoice and enter into the joy of your Lord!”
Christ is Risen, alleluia! He is Risen Indeed, alleluia, alleluia!