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Good Friday Pascha -- From Death to Life

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Reverend Louis J. Christopulos, Proistamenos

The Paschal experience is indeed the celebration and crowning point of life, rebirth and renewal. This eternal and joyful celebration, however, receives its fullness only when preceded by the pain and passion of Holy Week and the sacrificial death on the cross by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In essence, Paschal Sunday receives its full meaning only when remembered in conjunction with Holy Friday. Allow me, therefore, to share with you the following sermon:

It Is Friday, ....but Sunday is Coming."

Today is hung upon the Tree, He who suspended the land in the midst of the waters. A crown of thorns crowns Him, Who is King of angels. He is wrapped about with the purple of mockery, Who wrapped the Heavens with clouds. He received buffetings, Who freed Adam in Jordan. He was transfixed with nails, Who is the Bridegroom of the Church. He was pierced with a spear, Who is the Son of a Virgin.

It is Friday, ...but Sunday is coming.

In the early morning hours of a beautiful spring day, the quiet of the Oklahoma countryside is shattered with a blast and inferno from hell as the Federal Building topples leaving scores dead -- infants, children and adults -- hundreds injured and millions dumbfounded at such a hideous and senseless act.

It is Friday, ...but Sunday is coming.

The lamb which Isaiah proclaimed, comes willingly to the slaughter, and gives His back to scourgings, and His cheeks to blows. He hides not His face from shame and spitting, and He is condemned to a dishonorable death. He, Who is sinless, willingly submits to all, that on all He may bestow resurrection from the dead.

It is Friday, ...but Sunday is coming.

Cousins, productive and well-liked, in the prime of their lives, each meet an untimely and tragic death within two months of one another.

It is Friday, ...but Sunday is coming.

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. But about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani," which is, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" ...Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and gave up His spirit. (Matthew 27:45, 46, 50)

It is Friday, ...but Sunday is coming.

A single mother of three, a widow for years, who has worked diligently to raise her
children through her Christian love and example fights for her very life against the
formidable foe--cancer.



Today the grave holds Him Who holds creation in His palm. A stone covers Him, Who covers the heavens with virtue. Life sleeps, and hell trembles, and Adam is set free from his bonds. Glory to Your dispensation, through which, when all things were accomplished, You presented to us an eternal rest, even Your most Holy Resurrection from the dead.

It is Friday, ...but Sunday is coming.

We worship Your Passion, O Christ. Show us also Your Glorious Resurrection!

It is Sunday!

On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and
Salome brought spices to anoint Jesus...looking up, they saw that the stone
was rolled back from the tomb and on entering it, they saw a young man clothed
in white who said, "do not be afraid. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified?
He is not here, He has risen!" (Mark 16:1-6)

It is Sunday!

A child is born, premature, 12 weeks after his mother's amniotic sack ruptured.
Against all odds, he is not only born but is strong and healthy years later.

It is Sunday!

Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen
from the grave. Let no one fear death; for the death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it. He spoiled Hell when He descended into it.

You, O hell, have been vexed by encountering Him below. It is vexed! for it is
even done away with. It is vexed; for it is made a mockery. It is vexed; for it is
destroyed. It is vexed; for it is annihilated. It took a body, and lo, it discovered God.
It took earth, and behold, it encountered Heaven. It took what it saw and was overcome by what it did not see.




It is Sunday!



Following a tragic earthquake in Armenia in which 30,000 people were killed, a father left
his wife securely at home and rushed to the school where his son was. As he saw the remains of the school, flattened as a pancake, tears ran down his face as he remembered the promise he had made to his son just days earlier. "No matter what, I'll always be there
for you." He began to dig near where he thought the boy's room was. He dug for 12 hours. Others came for their own children -- they gave up in despair. He dug for
24, then 36 hours, then in the 38th hour he rolled back a boulder and heard his son's
voice. "Armand!" he yelled. "Dad? I knew you'd come! You promised no matter
what, 'I'll always be there for you.'" Armand and 13 others were saved.

It is Sunday!

O death, where is your sting? O hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you
are annihilated. Christ is risen, and the evil ones are cast down. Christ is risen, and life
is liberated. Christ is risen, and the tomb is emptied of the dead.

It is the Day of the Resurrection: Let us be glorious in splendor for the Festival, and let us embrace one another. Let us speak also, to those who hate us, and in the Resurrection, let us forgive all things, and let us cry: Christ is risen from the dead, by death trampling upon death, and bestowing Life to those in the tombs!

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