On Pascha

The Reading From Good Friday & Easter Sunday 2021

John 1:29

Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Beloved, understand how the mystery of the Passover

is both new and old,

eternal and provisional, 

perishable and imperishable, 

mortal and immortal. 


It is old with respect to the law,

new with respect to the word. 

Provisional with respect to the type,

yet everlasting through grace.

It is perishable because of the slaughter of the sheep,

imperishable because of the life of the Lord.

It is mortal because of the burial in the ground,

immortal because of the resurrection from the dead. 


For the law is old, but the word is new.

The type is provisional, but grace is everlasting. 

The sheep is perishable, but the Lord is imperishable, 

not broken as a lamb but raised up as God.


For though led to the slaughter like a sheep,

he was no sheep. 

Though speechless as a lamb,

he was no lamb.

For there was once a type, but now the reality has appeared. 


For instead of the lamb there was a son,

and instead of the sheep a man;

and the man was Christ, encompassing all things. 


For he was born a son, and led as a lamb,

and slaughtered as a sheep,

and buried as a man, 

and rose from the dead as God,

being by his nature God and man. 


He is all things.

He is law, in that he judges. 

He is word, in that he teaches. 

He is grace, in that he saves. 

He is father, in that he begets. 

He is son, in that he is begotten.

He is sheep, in that he suffers. 

He is human, in that he is buried. 

He is God, in that he is raised up. 


This is Jesus the Christ,

to whom be the glory forever and ever.



This is the mystery of the Passover,

 I shall narrate the scriptural story,

 “Look,” he says, “you shall take a lamb, without spot or blemish,

and toward the evening, slaughter it with the sons of Israel.

And eat it at night with haste. 

And not a bone of it shall you break.

This is the Passover of the Lord,

a commemoration to the sons of Israel forever.


Taking the blood of the sheep

you shall anoint the front doors of your houses

putting blood on the doorposts of the entrances;

the sign of the blood to avert the angel of death.

For behold, I shall strike Egypt

and in one night shall both beast and man be made childless.” 


Then Moses, having slaughtered the sheep

and performed the mystery at night with the sons of Israel,

sealed the doors of the houses to protect the people 

and to avert the angel of death.


But while the sheep is being slaughtered,

and the Passover is being eaten,

and the mystery is completed,

and the people are rejoicing, 

and Israel is being sealed:

then came the angel to strike Egypt,

those uninitiated in the mystery,

those with no part in the bread,

those not sealed by the blood,

those not guarded by the Spirit,

the hostile,

the faithless;

in one night he struck them and made them childless. 


For Egypt was surrounding Pharaoh like a robe of wailing,

bitter with grief and palpable darkness

and a strange childlessness, the loss of her first-born. 


At the human loss there was howling and grief over the dead first-born,

and all Egypt was stinking with unburied bodies. 


Such was the calamity which surrounded Egypt,

and made her suddenly childless.

Israel was guarded by the slaughter of the sheep,

and was illuminated by the shedding of blood, 

and the death of the sheep was a wall for the people. 


O strange and inexpressible mystery!

The slaughter of the sheep was Israel’s salvation, 

and the death of the sheep was life for the people, 

and the blood averted the angel. 


Tell me angel, what turned you away?

The slaughter of the sheep or the life of the Lord? 

The death of the sheep or the type of the Lord?

The blood of the sheep or the Spirit of the Lord? 


It is clear that you turned away

seeing the mystery of the Lord in the sheep

and the life of the Lord in the slaughter of the sheep 

and the type of the Lord in the death of the sheep.

Therefore you struck not Israel down,

but made Egypt alone childless. 


What is this strange mystery,

that Egypt is struck down for destruction

and Israel is guarded for salvation? 

Listen to the meaning of the mystery…


So then, as it is with temporary, 

so it is with eternal things;

as it is with things on earth,

so it is with the things in heaven. 

For indeed the Lord’s salvation and his truth were prefigured in the people,

and the decrees of the gospel were proclaimed in advance by the law. 


For then the slaughter of the sheep was partial, 

now it is fulfilled because of the Lord’s life.

The death of the sheep was partial,

now it is fulfilled because of the Lord’s salvation. 

The blood of the sheep was partial, 

now it is fulfilled because of the Lord’s spirit. 

The slaughtered lamb was partial,

now it is fulfilled because of the Son without spot. 

The temple below was partial, 

now it is fulfilled because of the heavenly Christ. 


The Jerusalem below was partial,

now it is fulfilled because of the heavenly Jerusalem. 

Once the narrow inheritance was partial,

now it is fulfilled because of the breadth of grace. 

For it is not on one place, that the glory of God is established,

but on all the ends of the earth.

For his grace has been poured out

and the Almighty God has made his dwelling there.

Through Christ Our Lord,

to whom be the glory forever and ever.



You have heard the narrative of the type and its correspondence:

hear now the confirmation of the mystery. 


God, in the beginning,

having made the heaven and the earth and all in them through the Word,

formed humanity from the earth and shared his own breath.

He set him in the garden in the east, in Eden, there to rejoice.

There he laid down for him the law, through his commandment: 

Eat food from all the trees in the garden

yet eat not from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil;

on the day that you eat you shall die.” 


Mankind was susceptible by nature of good and evil,

as a plot of earth may receive seed of either kind,

and he consented to the wicked and seductive counsel of the serpent,

and stretched out for the tree and broke the

commandment and disobeyed God.

For this, humanity was thrown out into this world,

condemned as though to prison. 


Mankind became fruitful and long-lived,

yet through tasting of the tree he was destroyed,

and was dissolved into the earth.

He left an inheritance to his children,

and as an inheritance he left his children:

not purity but lust,

not incorruption but decay,

not honor but dishonor,

not freedom but bondage,

not sovereignty but tyranny,

not life but death,

not salvation but destruction. 


Strange and terrible was the destruction of people on earth,

for these things attended them:

they were grasped by tyrannical sin

and they were led to the land of sensuality, 

where they were swamped in unsatisfying pleasures: 

by adultery,

by lust,

by love of money,

by murder,

by the shedding of blood,

by the tyranny of evil,

by the tyranny of lawlessness. 


Sin rejoiced in all of this,

working together with death,

making assaults against human souls

and preparing the bodies of the dead as his food.

Sin set his sign on every one 

and those on whom he etched his mark were doomed to death. 


All flesh fell under sin,

and every body under death,

and every soul was plucked from its dwelling of flesh,

and that which was taken from the dust was reduced to dust,

and the gift of God was locked away in the grave. 

What was marvelously knit together was unraveled,

and the beautiful body divided. 

For this reason in the body of the Lord

is the Passover mystery completed. 


The Lord made advance preparation for his own sufferings,

in the patriarchs and in the prophets and in the whole people;

through the law and the prophets he sealed them.

That which more recently and most excellently came to pass

he arranged from of old. 

For when it would come to pass it would find faith,

having been foreseen of old.


Therefore, the mystery of the Lord,

prefigured from of old through the vision of a type,

is today fulfilled and has found faith,

For the mystery of the Lord is both new and old;

old with respect to the law,

but new with respect to grace.


Thus if you wish to see the mystery of the Lord, 

look at Abel who is likewise slain,

at Isaac who is likewise tied up,

at Joseph who is likewise traded,

at Moses who is likewise exposed,

at David who is likewise hunted down,

at the prophets who likewise suffer for the sake of Christ. 


And look at the sheep, slaughtered in the land of Egypt,

which saved Israel through its blood while Egypt was struck down. 

The Mystery of the Lord is proclaimed through the prophetic voice.

For Moses says to the people: 

“And you shall look upon your life hanging before your eyes.” 

David says:

“Why have the nations been haughty, and the peoples 

imagined vain things?

The kings of the earth stood by and the rulers gathered themselves together

against the Lord and against his anointed one.” 

Jeremiah says:

“I am like a harmless lamb led to sacrifice; 

they planned evil for me saying: come let us put wood on his bread

and let us rub him out from the land of the living.

And his name shall not be remembered.” 

Isaiah says:

“Like a sheep he was led to slaughter and like a silent 

lamb before its shearer he does not open his mouth;

who shall tell of his generation? ” 


Many other things were proclaimed by many prophets

concerning the mystery of the Passover Lamb,

who is Christ,

to whom be the glory forever.



This is the Passover Lamb of our salvation:

This is the lamb slain,

this is the speechless lamb,

this is the one taken from the flock,

and led to the slaughter.

Who was sacrificed in the evening,

and buried at night;

who was not broken on the tree,

who was not undone in the earth,

who rose from the dead and resurrected humankind from the grave below. 


This is the one who clothed death in shame, and made the devil grieve.

This is the one who delivered us from slavery to freedom,

from darkness into light,

from death into life,

from tyranny into an eternal Kingdom,

and made us a new priesthood,

and a people everlasting for himself. 


This is the one made flesh in a virgin,

who was hanged on a tree,

who was buried in the earth,

who was raised from the dead, 

who was exalted to the heights of heaven. 


This is the one who has been murdered.

And where murdered?

In the middle of Jerusalem. 


By whom?

By Humanity, Israel, Rome, you, me! 



Because he healed the lame,

and cleansed the lepers,

and enlightened the blind,

and raised up the dead;

and therefore he died.


What strange injustice have you done, O Humanity?

You have dishonored the one who honored you,

you have disgraced the one who glorified you,

you have denied the one who owned you, 

you have murdered the one who gave you life. 


You put these things to one side,

you hurried to the slaughter of the Lord.

You prepared for him sharp nails and false witnesses,

and ropes and whips,

and vinegar and gall,

and a sword and torture as against a murderous thief.

You brought forth a flogging for his body,

and thorns for his head;

and you bound his hands,

which formed you from the earth.

You fed with bitter gall his mouth which fed you with life.

And you killed your Lord at the great feast.

And while you were rejoicing he was starving.

You were drinking wine and eating bread;

he had vinegar and gall.

Your face was bright whereas his was cast down.

You were triumphant while he was afflicted. 

You were making music while he was being judged.

You were proposing toasts; he was being nailed in place.

You were dancing, he was buried. 

You were reclining on a cushioned couch, he in grave and coffin.


O lawless Humanity, what is this injustice you have done,

casting strange sufferings on your Lord?

Your master who formed you,

who made you, 

who honored you, who called you by name. 

You did not see God.

You did not perceive the Lord,

you did not recognize the first-born of God,

begotten before the morning star,

who adorned the light,

who lit up the day,

who divided the darkness,

who fixed the first boundary,

who hung the earth,

who tamed the abyss,

who furnished the world,

who arranged the stars in the heavens,

who lit up the great lights,

who made the angels in heaven,

who formed humanity on the earth. 

It was he who chose you and led you,

from Adam to Noah,

from Noah to Abraham,

from Abraham to Isaac and Jacob and the twelve patriarchs. 


He led you into Egypt,

and guarded you there and sustained you.

He lit up your way with a pillar and sheltered you with a cloud.

He cut the Red Sea open, leading you through, and destroyed the enemy.  

He gave you manna from heaven, who gave you drink from a rock,

who gave you the law at Horeb,

who gave you the inheritance in the land, 

who sent you the prophets, who raised up kings for you. 

He it is, coming to you,

healed your suffering and raised your dead.

He it is whom you outraged,

he it is whom you blasphemed,

he it is whom you oppressed,

he it is whom you killed,

he it is whom you extorted,

demanding from him two drachmas as the price of his head. 


Listen all you families of the nations and see:

a strange murder has occurred in the middle of Jerusalem;

in the city of the law,

in the city of the Hebrews,

in the city of the prophets,

in the city reckoned righteous.

And who has been murdered?

Who is the killer?

I am ashamed to say and I am obliged to tell.

Now in the middle of the street,

and in the middle of the city,

in the middle of the day before the public gaze,

the unjust murder of a just man has taken place. 

And so he is lifted up on a tall tree,

and a placard is attached to show who has been murdered.

Who is it?

To say is hard and not to say yet more fearful. 


He who hung the earth is hanging.

He who fixed the heavens in place has been fixed in place.

He who laid the foundations of the universe has been laid on a tree.

The master has been profaned.

God has been murdered.

O mystifying murder! O mystifying injustice!

The master is obscured by his body exposed,

and is not held worthy of a veil to shield him from view.

For this reason the great lights turned away,

and the day was turned to darkness;

For when the people did not tremble, the earth shook.

When the people did not fear, the heavens were afraid.

When the people did not rend their garments, the angel rent his own. 

When the people did not lament, the Lord thundered from heaven,

and the most high gave voice. 


The Lord clothed himself with humanity,

and with suffering on behalf of the suffering ones,

and bound on behalf of the ones constrained,

and judged on behalf of the ones convicted,

and buried on behalf of the ones entombed,

rose from the dead and cried out aloud: 

The Lord

It is I
I am he who destroys death, 
and triumphs over the enemy,
and crushes the grave,
and binds the strong man,
and brings humanity to the heavenly heights.

It is I
I set free the condemned.
I gave life to the dead.
I raise up the entombed. 
Who will contradict me?

So come all families of people, encumbered with sin,
and receive forgiveness of sins.
For I am your freedom. 
I am the Passover of your salvation, 
I shall raise you up by my right hand,
I will lead you to the heights of heaven,
I will show you the everlasting father.” 

I am the lamb slaughtered for you, 
I am your ransom,
I am your life,
I am your light, 
I am your salvation,
I am your resurrection,
I am your King.

It is He who made the heavens and the earth,

and formed humanity in the beginning,

who was proclaimed through the law and the prophets,

who took flesh from a virgin,

who was hung on a tree,

who was buried in earth,

who was raised from the dead,

and ascended to the heights of heaven,

who sits at the right hand of the father,

who has the power to save all things,

through whom the father acted from the beginning and forever. 


This is the alpha and omega,

this is the beginning and the end,

the ineffable beginning and the incomprehensible end.

This is the Christ,

this is the King,

this is Jesus, 

this is the commander,

this is the Lord,

this is he who rose from the dead,

this is he who sits at the right hand of the father,

ruling and reigning in glorious victory

To him be the glory and the might forever and ever.