Bright Monday – KNOWN!

Christ Is Risen!

What joy! What happiness! What a celebration! Words fail. Songs sung over and over again still cry out for more! Death is conquered by the Unconquered Son. O what news! The whole earth basks in the glow of the Victory of Christ over death! No more fear! No more night! The Son has dawned and there are no dead left in the grave!

It all sounds like so much wishful thinking in light of all our world’s troubles and doubt. Even we who say we believe struggle reconciling our hymns with our everyday lives of struggle and pain.

And yet, here we are once again, in the Week called Bright or Renewal Week. No fasting. No more mourning. Christ is risen from the dead!

So, how do we keep this joyousness in the face of a society perilously close to a post-Christian period? How do we keep Bright Week bright?

 

Look at our Gospel Lesson for today in John 1:18-28:

No one has ever seen God; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.

And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, he did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” And he answered, “No.” They said to him then, “Who are you? let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, ” I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water; but among you stands one whom you do not know, even he who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” This took place in Bethany beyond the Jordon, where John was baptizing.

Isn’t it amazing on this Bright Monday the Church calls us to remember the beginning of the Lord’s ministry? We are taken back to the start of it all as if the beginning holds the seeds of the fully grown fruit of His life. And it does! The way to keep Bright Week Bright is first by embracing that God wants to be known! And God wants to be known so much that He wraps Himself in our flesh and comes among us to show us Himself! God desires to be found. He has never been the One who is hiding!

Not only that, but He is going to show us Himself by enlisting us to help make Him known. He shows us St. John the Baptist as the Forerunner preparing the way for the Lord. St. John clears the Way for the Lord by calling all of us to repentance and a willing heart ready to embrace the Savior. And all of this work, this revelation, is not for God at all, but for us.

On this Bright Monday we are still being challenged to know God in the face of His Son, our Lord Jesus. We are still being challenged to participate in making Him known to our world as well. And can we look at our world and not see it desperately needs to know God? But the world won’t be able to see Him unless His Body, the Church, accurately reflects His image to the world. The whole world is groaning under the weight of fear and death, and the only remedy for that fear and death lies within the joyous celebration of His Life-Giving Resurrection. How will the world, your world, come to know this God Who wants to be known if His Body hides Him away as if He were some fragile deity that was weak and in need of protection?  How will they see Him if we hide Him? How will we explain our attempts to hide Him when He so obviously wants to be found by the whole world?

Today, let us keep a Christian Bright Week by making sure there is not one corner of our world where He isn’t seen! Let’s be wise enough to be like St. John and point away from ourselves and focus everyone’s attention on Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord, the Head of the Body, the Image of the unseen God! Let’s be Orthodox on Purpose!

6 comments:

  1. O, Everlasting Joy!
    O, Love Eternal!
    O Thou who lovest mankind put on garments of humility,
    So that we may put on Thy divinity.
    Grace, grace, marvelous grace!
    Shine, shine O New Jerusalem! The Glory of the Lord has shone on you.

    1 The day of resurrection!
    Earth, tell it out abroad;
    the passover of gladness,
    the passover of God.
    From death to life eternal,
    from earth unto the sky,
    our Christ hath brought us over,
    with hymns of victory.
    2 Our hearts be pure from evil,
    that we may see aright
    the Lord in rays eternal
    of resurrection light;
    and listening to his accents,
    may hear, so calm and plain,
    his own “All hail!” and, hearing,
    may raise the victor strain.
    3 Now let the heavens be joyful!
    Let earth the song begin!
    Let the round world keep triumph,
    and all that is therein!
    Let all things seen and unseen
    their notes in gladness blend,
    for Christ the Lord hath risen,
    our joy that hath no end.
    Saint John Damascene

  2. Thou New Jerusalem, arise and shine!
    The glory of the Lord on thee hath risen!
    Sion, exult! rejoice with joy divine,
    Mother of GOD! Thy Son hath burst His prison!
    O heavenly Voice! O word of purest love!
    ‘Lo! I am with you alway to the end!’
    This is the anchor, steadfast from above,
    The golden anchor, whence our hopes depend.
    O CHRIST, our Pascha! greatest, holiest, best!
    GOD’s Word and Wisdom and effectual Might!
    Thy fuller, lovelier presence manifest,
    In that eternal realm, that knows no night!
    Saint John of Damascus
    Hymns of the Eastern Church, 1866

  3. Stand on thy watch-tower, Habakkuk the Seer,
    And show the Angel, radiant in his light:
    ‘Today,’ saith he, ‘Salvation shall appear,
    ‘Because the LORD hath ris’n, as GOD of Might.’
    The male that opes the Virgin’s womb is He;
    The Lamb of Whom His faithful people eat;
    Our truer Passover from blemish free;
    Our very GOD, Whose name is all complete.
    This yearling Lamb, our Sacrifice most blest,
    Our glorious Crown, for all men freely dies:
    Behold our Pascha, beauteous from His rest,
    The healing Sun of Righteousness arise.
    Before the ark, a type to pass away,
    David of old time danced: we, holier race,
    Seeing the Antitype come forth today,
    Hail, with a shout, CHRIST’s own Almighty grace.
    Saint John of Damascus

  4. Who from the fiery furnace saved the Three,
    Suffers as mortal; that, His Passion o’er,
    This mortal, triumphing o’er death, might be
    Vested with immortality once more:
    He Whom our fathers still confest
    GOD over all, for ever blest.
    The women with their ointment seek the Tomb:
    And Whom they mourned as dead, with many a tear,
    They worship now, joy dawning on their gloom,
    As Living GOD, as mystic Passover;
    Then to the LORD’s Disciples gave
    The tidings of the vanquished grave.
    104
    We keep the festal of the death of death;
    Of hell overthrown: the first-fruits pure and bright,
    Of life eternal; and with joyous breath
    Praise Him that won the victory by His might:
    Him Whom our fathers still confest
    GOD over all, for ever blest.
    All hallowed festival, in splendour born!
    Night of salvation and of glory! Night
    Fore-heralding the Resurrection morn!
    When from the tomb the everlasting Light,
    A glorious frame once more his own,
    Upon the world in splendour shone.
    Saint John of Damascus

  5. Let us rise in early morning,
    And, instead of ointments, bring
    Hymns of praises to our Master,
    And His Resurrection sing:
    We shall see the Sun of Justice
    Risen with healing on His wing.
    Thy unbounded loving-kindness,
    They that groaned in Hades’ chain,
    Prisoners, from afar beholding,
    Hasten to the light again
    And to that eternal Pascha
    Wove the dance and raised the strain.
    Go ye forth, His Saints, to meet Him!
    Go with lamps in every hand!
    From the sepulchre He riseth:
    Ready for the Bridegroom stand:
    And the Pascha of salvation
    Hail, with His triumphant band.
    Saint John of Damascus
    Hymns of the Eastern Church, 1866

  6. 1 Now let the heav’ns be joyful,
    Let earth her song begin,
    The round world keep high triumph,
    And all that is therein.
    He is risen! He is risen!
    Christ the Lord is risen!
    Our joy shall have no end.
    2 From death to life eternal,
    From earth on to the sky,
    Our Christ has brought us over
    With hymns of victory.
    He is risen! He is risen!
    Christ the Lord is risen!
    Our joy shall have no end.
    3 Let all things seen and unseen
    Their notes of gladness blend,
    For Christ the Lord is risen;
    Our joy shall have no end.
    He is risen! He is risen!
    Christ the Lord is risen!
    Our joy shall have no end.
    Saint John of Damascus

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: