Today is Good Friday. I am attaching for you a video link to a beautiful and deeply meaningful Good Friday hymn from our beloved English Spiritual Tradition — O Sacred Head Sore Wounded.
I hope that you will listen, for “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (II Corinthians 6:2).
Here is the link:
O SACRED HEAD SORE WOUNDED
O sacred head, sore wounded,
defiled and put to scorn;
O kingly head surrounded
with mocking crown of thorn:
What sorrow mars thy grandeur?
Can death thy bloom deflower?
O countenance whose splendor
the hosts of heaven adore!
In thy most bitter passion
my heart to share doth cry,
with thee for my salvation
upon the cross to die.
Ah, keep my heart thus moved
to stand thy cross beneath,
to mourn thee, well-beloved,
yet thank thee for thy death.
Although we cannot now gather together for worship, we can still pray Morning and Evening Prayer from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer or the English Office Noted. You can add the Ante-Communion today, and the Litany this evening. To pray the Ante-Communion you simply turn to the Order for Holy Communion in the Book of Common Prayer, begin with the Lord’s Prayer and conclude after the Gospel Lesson. Alternatively you could substitute the readings from the Eucharistic Liturgy for the lessons at Morning and Evening Prayer or, better yet, read both.
The Epistle and Gospel readings from the Eucharistic Liturgy are as follows:
Good Friday Hebrews 10:1-25; John 19:1-37
Easter Even I Peter 3:17-22; Matthew 27:57-66
You may also want to read all of the Passion narratives for your Good Friday devotional reading. They are traditionally read during Holy Week and are as follows:
It has been our tradition at Holy Cross parish to pray the Litany with Evening Prayer on the evening of Good Friday. You can still do this. The Litany is found in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. If you do not have a copy of the Prayer Book at home, you can access it online here:
CRADLE OF PRAYER
By accessing Cradle of Prayer you can pray along as daily Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer are sung. What a beautiful way to give glory to God and to bless your day! You can access these Services on demand. Here is the link:
RESURRECTION SUNDAY — The Feast of First Fruits, commonly called Easter Day
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all (I Corinthians 15:20-28).
Let us join together spiritually at 10:00 AM on Sunday to pray Morning Prayer and the Ante-Communion. Although we will all be in our own homes we will be united in “the communion of saints” (Apostles’ Creed).
Christ our Passover will replace the Venite in Morning Prayer (Matins) on Easter Day and throughout the Octave (eight days):
CHRIST OUR PASSOVER
CHRIST our Passover is sacrificed for us: * therefore let us keep the feast, Not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; * but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Cor. v. 7.
CHRIST being raised from the dead dieth no more; * death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: * but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, * but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom. vi. 9.
CHRIST is risen from the dead, * and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, * by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, * even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Cor. xv. 20.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, * world without end. Amen.
The Propers (Collect, Epistle and Gospel) that you should use while praying the Ante-Communion on Easter Day are as follows:
ALMIGHTY God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; We humbly beseech thee that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.
¶ This Collect is to be said daily throughout Easter Week.
THE EPISTLE, Colossians 3:1-4
IF ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
THE GOSPEL, St. John 20:1-10
THE first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, and the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.
SPECIAL RADIO BROADCAST — Saturday at 9:30 AM
The Faith Once Delivered radio broadcast can be heard in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa on AM and FM radio, or anywhere in the world over the Internet.
Tomorrow’s broadcast of The Faith Once Delivered, is a very special broadcast in which we look into the Last Supper that Jesus had with his disciples at Passover, and his Resurrection from the dead on the Biblical Feast of First Fruits. You will learn a lot in this broadcast and discover exciting truths in God’s Word that you may have never noticed before. Be sure to tell your friends. This is a broadcast that you will not want to miss!
Each broadcast is an in-depth Bible study. We let the Scriptures speak for themselves rather than reading them through the lens of human tradition. A lot of important information is packed into every 30 minute broadcast. These broadcasts are solid spiritual food, not milk.
THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED is heard every Saturday morning at 9:30 AM Central Daylight Time on KCRO Radio 660 AM in Omaha, and 106.7 FM in Lincoln, and can be heard throughout eastern Nebraska and western Iowa.
Not in eastern Nebraska or western Iowa? No problem! You can listen live over the Internet. Just go to the KCRO Radio website and click Listen Live:
THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED — PODCASTS
In addition to the radio broadcast every Saturday morning at 9:30 AM Central Daylight Time on KCRO Radio 660 AM in Omaha and 106.7 FM in Lincoln, each episode of THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED is being archived and can be listened to anytime as a Podcast. You can access past radio programs here:
TITHES AND OFFERINGS
Please remember that just because we cannot meet for Services does not mean that the Work of our church does not go on or that the bills don’t keep coming in. They do!
We have many financial obligations to meet, and during this time of crisis our outreach and ministry is even more important than ever. We need to keep everything going smoothly so when the crisis passes we can simply return and pick up where we left off.
How many local congregations have a radio ministry? Very, very few. We are reaching people in our area, all across the nation, and outside of America with solid Biblical teaching. This is a very important ministry, especially at a time when churches are closed and people are cut off. The Faith Once Delivered can serve as a lifeline, but it is also very expensive.
God’s plan for advancing His Work in the world is through the tithes and offerings of the faithful. PLEASE be sure to keep up with your regular Tithes and Offerings, and consider sending a little more if you can.
If you live outside the Omaha area and have benefited from our teaching ministry through our weekly Updates, our radio ministry, my Blog, or through written correspondence or telephone conversations with me, I would encourage you to contribute to our work as well. Thank you!
You can send a check to:
Holy Cross Orthodox Church
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127
Or you can contribute by Credit Card by going to our parish website and donating online. You will find a Donate button on the home page of our website. It’s safe and secure through PayPal. Here is the link to our parish website:
SIGNS OF THE TIMES
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows (Matthew 24:7-8)
As we discussed in our radio broadcast last week, the 20th century was the most violent century in human history with more people killed in wars than in all of the previous centuries since the dawn of recorded history combined — and the 21st century has been no different. In fact the United States has been constantly at war since September 11, 2001, and the saber rattling among the Great Powers has reached a point not seen since the fall of the Iron Curtain.
We also saw that the numbers of earthquakes began to exponentially increase in 2008, and quickly got to the point where earthquakes below 4.5 in magnitude are no longer even counted by the USGS unless warranted by the number of deaths or amount of destruction. Since then a new term has come into use: earthquake swarms.
We have talked about the recent locust plague in Africa and the Middle East as well, but as bad as that plague has been a new wave of locusts is being reported that has swarms 20 times as big as the disastrous locust plague that we have been discussing on the radio and in the Holy Cross Update. In addition, a third apocalyptic swarm is expected at harvest time — if there is anything left to harvest. You can read about it here:
New, larger wave of locusts threatens millions in Africa
And now, there is a report of a soon coming Giant Hornet plague (I am not kidding!) that can kill humans with a single sting, and may devastate what remains of the honey bee population in the United States which could lead to food shortages and even famines. No honey bees, no pollination. No pollination, no crops. No crops, no food. You can read about this new threat here:
Giant Asian hornets that can ‘kill with a single sting’ to invade virus-stricken US
We are living in Biblical times. We are living in the End Times. With the Signs of the Times unfolding all around us, isn’t it time that we be sure that we have our priorities right? Isn’t that what Lent is all about anyway?
Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon (Isaiah 55:6-7).
I am attaching for you a music video that I think will touch your heart, bless your soul and raise your heart and mind to the Throne of Grace. It is called, Give Me Jesus and is sung by Fernando Ortega. The lyrics appear on the screen. I hope that you will listen and share it with others. Here is the link:
DO IT YOURSELF FACE MASKS
Both the CDC and Nebraska health authorities are advising that face masks be worn in public when six foot social distancing cannot be maintained such as when grocery shopping, picking up carryout, or using a drive through window. A mask is NOT something to be used instead of social distancing. Social distancing is absolutely necessary to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and save lives, but masks serve an important purpose along with social distancing.
Fifty-five percent of Americans who went out in public last week wore face masks, compared to 45% who did not, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll released today reveals. No doubt the percentage will continue go up.
You can make an excellent mask at home with a scarf and two rubber rubber bands or hair bands in about 60 seconds. Don’t have a scarf? You can make one from a T-shirt. I am attaching for you an excellent video that will show you how to do it. Cheri made me one in less than a minute last night, and it fits perfectly and is quite comfortable.
PLEASE watch the attached four minute “how to” video. It may save your health or even your life, or that of someone you love. Here is the link:
DIY FACE MASK *no sewing required*
SOME REALLY GOOD NEWS!
Remember the 36 year old woman who was Nebraska’s first Covid-19 victim? She was in critical condition at the University of Nebraska Medical Center for weeks. Last week I reported to you that she was conscious and able to communicate. I can now report to you that she has left the hospital and is convalescing at home. Praise God!
You can read all about it here:
'I consider myself a survivor': 36-year-old woman home after weeks in hospital with COVID-19
YOU ARE LOVED
Cheri and I want you to know that you are loved. We pray for our church family and the friends of our parish, and their families, every day. We miss you and look forward to the day that our church family can be back together for worship and fellowship — and that day is coming.
Until then, as Governor Pete Ricketts says, “Stay home, stay safe and stay connected.” The fastest way to end this pandemic is through effective mitigation. When you have to go out be sure to practice careful social distancing. When social distancing can become problematic, such as when shopping for groceries, then wear a mask in addition to your best efforts to social distance.
This coronavirus pestilence will pass. In the meantime we (all of us) are the “ecclesia” — not a building — and the Work of the Gospel goes on. As Cheri can tell you, I am busier than ever.
We are here for you. Cheri and I are praying for you, and we love you. We will get through this pandemic together and will be spiritually stronger because of these difficult times. Pray for one another Pray that God will send a revival to our nation and the world — an outpouring of the Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit!
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34-35).
Fr. Victor Novak
HOLY CROSS ORTHODOX CHURCH
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127