The Feast of the Resurrection: The Paschal Sermon of St. John Chrysostom

The Catechetical Sermon of St. John Chrysostom is read during Matins of Pascha:

If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast. If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of of his Lord…

Source: The Paschal Sermon – Orthodox Church in America

The Paschal Sermon of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop, Metropolitan, and Patriarch of Constantinople (434–446) and one of the great Fathers of the Church, is traditionally read on the Feast of the Resurrection (Pascha, or Easter) in the Eastern Orthodox Christian Churches. It is often read in Anglican and other churches of the liturgical / sacramental tradition.

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Wishing everyone a very Happy Easter, and a holy, blessed, and joyful Eastertide.

John Keble, Presbyter and Renewer of the Church, 1866 | For All the Saints

New every morning is the love
Our wakening and uprising prove:
Through sleep and darkness safely brought,
Restored to life and power and thought.

These familiar words of John Keble are from his cycle of poems entitled The Christian Year (1827), which he wrote to restore within the Church of England a deep feeling for the church year, “to bring the thoughts and feelings of the reader into unison with those exemplified in the Prayer Book.”

The work went through ninety-five editions, but this was not the fame Keble sought. His consuming desire was to be a faithful pastor who finds his fulfillment in daily services, confirmation classes, visits to village schools, and a voluminous correspondence with those seeking spiritual counsel.

Source: John Keble, Presbyter and Renewer of the Church, 1866 | For All the Saints

Rightly acclaimed for The Christian Year, John Keble‘s greater and more lasting influence on the Anglican expression of Christianity was doubtless his Assizes Sermon of 1834, commonly titled “National Apostasy.” It was, as this account notes, the spark that ignited the Oxford Movement, also known as the Tractarians: reformers who, again to quote this essay, “sought to recall the Church to its ancient sacramental heritage.”

While some of the reforms proposed (especially among the later Tractarians) went too far for many Anglicans – then and now – there is much to be commended in the Oxford reformers’ attempts to recall the Ecclesia Anglicana to a “high” ecclesiology and sacramental theology, and to reawaken the “appeal to antiquity” (that is, the “ancient and undivided Church”) which has been a salient feature of Anglicanism since the days of Matthew Parker (Archbishop of Canterbury, 1559–1575).

In these attempts they met with considerable, although not uncontested, success – and I, for one, am grateful!

The Angelus – YouTube

The Angelus – traditional salutation to Mary, in honor of the Incarnation of her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, recited or sung at morning, noon, and evening – as chanted by the Daughters of Mary: in honor of the Feast of the Annunciation.

The full text of the Angelus, in both Latin and (traditional / liturgical) English, together with some background history, is found here.

Morality As Worship

And while we’re on the subject of acting rightly…!

“Why should Christians act morally? Because if they do they will go to Heaven and if they don’t they will go to Hell? Surely that can’t be the answer. For as the New Atheists rightly point out, a morality based on self-interest is no morality at all.

It seems to me that the Biblical answer is that God demands worship and that acting morally is a form of worship… We are all baptized as priests, and I believe this is the key thing: we are called to give God right worship through our entire lives, including through right living.”

Source: Morality As Worship

I agree, and I think one of the keys, here, is the word “worship” itself. Originally stemming from “worth-ship,” it was something you gave another who deserved it: to “give worthship,” later contracted to “worship,” meant that you gave them the honour, and the behaviour, which was their due. You accorded them worth, and behaved accordingly.

Nor was it originally limited solely to the Deity: knights swore fealty to their lords “of life, and limb, and earthly worship,” and the old Prayer Book marriage service had the husband-to-be pledging to his new wife, “with this ring, I thee wed; with my body, I thee worship; with all my earthly goods, I thee endow.”

But God, of course, is uniquely deserving of worship, since He is the Source of all that is, and even when we give (whether it be worship or other forms of offering), “of Thine own have we given Thee.” So it makes sense that, as part of our “worth-ship” given to God, we include living and behaving in those ways which we are told in the Scriptures are pleasing to Him, and to refrain from those things that are un-pleasing.

If you truly love and give worth-ship to your wife, you would intentionally do things you knew were displeasing to her, would you? And if you were a knight, you certainly wouldn’t intentionally do things you knew were displeasing to your lord! The same holds true, or should – and if anything, even moreso – when it comes to God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and also the Bridegroom of His Bride, the Church.

Of course, this is an ideal which we, as humans, are incapable of perfectly living up to. That’s where penitence comes in! But we can certainly make the effort.

The Liturgy As The Union Of The Three Transcendentals

Source: The Liturgy As The Union Of The Three Transcendentals

“… one idea that’s struck me and that I want to doodle on here is based on the rediscovery of the Three Transcendentals of ancient philosophy (which has so greatly shaped Christian Tradition): the True, the Good and the Beautiful. To destructively compress Plato and the Neoplatonists, all truth points to the transcendent Truth; all good points to the transcendent Good; all beauty points to the transcendent Beauty; and in turn, the transcendent True, Good and Beautiful is the One, the source of all being, which classical theism identifies as God, and is in turn identified with the God of the Bible by orthodox Christianity…

“If we see the Liturgy as an encounter with God and if we understand this ancient knowledge about God, we understand that beauty is not an ancillary aspect of the liturgy; not a nice-feeling part of it, but an intrinsic part of it. God is the union of the True, the Good and the Beautiful–and so, therefore, must be the Liturgy.”

The relativism, utilitarian aesthetic — if it can even be called an aesthetic! — and general “good enough” approach of the modernist and, even more, post-modernist world has, sadly, infected even the liturgy. This is a short but excellent treatise on why it’s important to strive not only for the Good and the True, but also the Beautiful, in the liturgy as in all other aspects of life.

As St. Paul put it in his letter to the Philippians,

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8 RSV).

Girls Should Not Be “Altar Servers” – Crisis Magazine

In

1994, the Congregation for Divine Worship issued a letter officially specifying that it is licit for females to serve the altar in the role that has traditionally been known as “altar boy.” Bishops were not bound to permit the practice, and a 2001 follow-up specified that pastors may also choose to reserve altar service …

Source: Girls Should Not Be “Altar Servers” – Crisis Magazine

Once again, this is from a specifically Roman Catholic perspective, but it has relevance because the specific Anglican jurisdiction to which I belong — like most orthodox Anglican jurisdictions, and all Continuing Anglican ones — does not ordain women to the priesthood. The author, who is female, and the mother of four boys, discusses the connections in some depth in the article, and I do not want to steal her thunder be rehashing them here.

What I will say is this: it has been statistically demonstrated (as pointed out in this article) that boys are less likely to want to serve at the altar if they must do so “co-educationally,” thus reducing the kind and level of exposure to the liturgy which tends to breed future vocations. It also appears that men are less likely to attend church when leaders of worship (or those perceived as taking a leadership role, which would included altar servers) are female.

And a lack of paternal participation in regular worship has in turn been statistically linked to reduced church attendance by both male and female children when they reach adulthood. Are girls as altar servers thus a contributing factor to reduced church attendance overall? That might be saying a bit more than I personally would feel comfortable with, but the idea does not seem to be entirely without merit. In any case, read the article — the author, Dr. Rachel Lu, makes some excellent points!

10 Reasons Some Women Are Wearing Veils in Church Again | ChurchPOP

Source: 10 Reasons Some Women Are Wearing Veils in Church Again | ChurchPOP

More on the subject of veiling, which I have discussed here on the blog previously…

“Not that long ago, Christian women always covered their heads at church, and now many are choosing to once again. While lots of women are going the route of the chapel veil, others are choosing things like hats, scarves, or stylish headbands.”

Not long ago indeed — and not just in a Catholic or other liturgical / sacramental Church context, either. I was born in 1965, grew up Methodist, and both my grandmothers as well as my mother always wore hats (or occasionally scarves) in church. In any case, their heads were covered. It was simply considered the seemly thing to do!

As regards St. Bede’s, as I have always said, I encourage women of the congregation to prayerfully consider whether or not they might find themselves called by God to “veil,” whether that means an actual veil (chapel veil or mantilla), hat, scarf, etc. It’s a matter of conscience, not doctrine, but I do know some women find it helpful to their spiritual practice.