Meditations of the Paschal Canon, Ode 3

Continuing the mediation on the Paschal Canon which I began in this post.

Ode 3

The third biblical ode is the Song of Hannah, the mother of the Prophet Samuel, after God granted her a child (1 Samuel. The primary theme is the idea that all good comes from God and that man should not be arrogant because "The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up." The relevance of this to the good news of Pascha is clear: Christ's victory over death is the ultimate gift to man, given freely to all.

Come, let us drink a new drink: not one miraculously brought forth from a barren rock, but the fountain of incorruption springing forth from the tomb of Christ, in Whom we are strengthened.

The first part of this hymn refers to the water that God brought forth from a rock to quench the thirst of the people of Israel in the wilderness (Ex 17:5-6). They had passed over the Red Sea and escaped the bondage to Pharaoh (if you will recall, this event is a type, prefiguring our baptism). Now they require nourishment in the desert, and God provides this through Moses' hand. This also is a type, prefiguring to the "new drink" that God gives us through the hands of His Priests: the Holy Mystery of Communion, the "blood and water" (John 19:34) which flowed forth from the side of our Lord on the Cross

Now all things are filled with light: heaven and earth and the nethermost parts of the earth. Let all creation therefore celebrate the arising of Christ, in Whom it is strengthened.

"To write the same things to you, to me indeed [is] not grievous, but for you [it is] safe" (Phil 3:1). So much of our services consist of repetition, because this is needful for us. Bursting with joy (or teaching ourselves to understand this joy), we say "Christ is Risen!" more times than we can count — but not as often as we say "Lord, have mercy!" throughout the year.

It should therefore be no surprise that this second hymn of Ode 3 reminds us of the the third hymn of Ode 1: "…let the whole world, both visible and invisible, keep festival…." Moreover, this text makes the reason for this rejoicing even more explicit: "all things are filled with light." Christ's resurrection renews the whole of Creation!

Yesterday I was buried with Thee, O Christ; today I rise with Thine arising. Yesterday I was crucified with Thee; do Thou Thyself glorify me with Thee, O Savior, in Thy Kingdom!

This also hearkens back to a theme from Ode 1: our personal assimilation of the fruits of the Resurrection through baptism. Not only did Christ die and rise again, but each one of us is buried with Him and rises with Him in the waters of Baptism — and we pray that we will continue to abide with Him in His eternal kingdom!

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!

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