“The Lord is Risen Indeed” (Luke 24:34).
Although we were unable to gather together to worship God and to give thanks for the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ due to the coronavirus pandemic, I know that we all gathered together in our homes for prayer and that we were, and are, united in “the communion of the saints” (apostles’ creed).
It has long been our custom at Holy Cross to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord, the first fruits from among those who sleep, by singing Jesus Christ is Risen Today as the Processional Hymn, and Hail Thee Festival Day as the Recessional Hymn. Not wanting you to miss this blessed tradition I am attaching for you video links to these beautiful hymns. I hope that you will play them and even join in with them.
Jesus Christ is Risen Today — King’s College Choir
Hail Thee, Festival Day
Today is the Biblical Feast of Firstfruits. On this day the firstfruits of the harvest would be offered to God. Jesus, Yeshua, is “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep [died]” (1 Corinthians 15:20). “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” (1 Corinthians 15:21-23).
Jesus’ Resurrection, as the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep, is celebrated every year on the Biblical Feast of Firstfruits. Whether we call this day Easter Sunday, Pascha, Resurrection Sunday, or by its Biblical name — the Feast of Firstfruits — the theme for us is the same: Christ is Risen!
You can read all about it in First Corinthians chapter 15,
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 (1 Corinthians 15:20-28).
Cheri and I will soon be sitting down to a delicious meal to celebrate the feast. While we miss you all, and will not be able to gather with family around the dinner table, nothing can dampen our joy for “The Lord is Risen Indeed” (Luke 24:34). We hope that you will have a blessed and joyful festival day today. This is truly a day to celebrate!
Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!
Fr. Victor Novak
HOLY CROSS ORTHODOX CHURCH
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127