Saturday, April 30, 2011

2 Easter: Resurrection & The Lamb's High Banquet

The Lamb’s high banquet called to share,
            arrayed in garments white and fair,
                        the Red Sea past, we now would sing
                                    to Jesus our triumphant King.

Protected in the Paschal night
            from the destroying angel’s might,
                        in triumph went the ransomed free
                                    from Pharaoh’s cruel tyranny.

Now Christ our Passover is slain,
            the Lamb of God without a stain;
                        his flesh, the true unleavened bread,
                                    is freely offered in our stead.

O all-sufficient Sacrifice,
            beneath thee hell defeated lies;
                        thy captive people are set free,
                                    and endless life restored in thee.

All praise be thine, O risen Lord,
            from death to endless life restored;
                        all praise to God the Father be
                                    and Holy Ghost eternally.

Hymn 202 in The Hymnal, 1982
Latin 7th-8th cent.; tr. John Mason Neale (1818-1866) and others
Music: Ad cenam Agni providi, plainsong, Mode 8, Paris MS., 12th cent.

The 2nd Sunday of Easter (sometimes called “Thomas Sunday”) brings to and end the Octave of Easter, the sole remaining full Octave in our calendar. This week now ending has been one long liturgical celebration of the first day of Easter. This Sunday completes the celebration by recalling Jesus’ appearance to the disciples on the evening of Easter Day, and then again a week later (this time, with Thomas present)—thus neatly bringing together the two Sundays in one liturgical unity. This also reveals the essential unity of time and eternity present in all celebrations of the Eucharist, in which the Resurrection is continually proclaimed.

The above hymn also links together the Paschal Mystery (referenced in the collect for this Sunday) with the Eucharist, looking back to the events of history but then pointing us to the character of freedom that permeates the Christian life now lived in the light of the Resurrection. Written at the Early Church’s close, it still rings with the sense of unity, orthodoxy, holistic vision, and victory that characterizes ancient, catholic Christianity. May it be the spirit of contemporary, authentic Anglican Christianity in our parish, diocese, and province.

Collect for the Second Sunday of Easter
Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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