In this email
Message from Fr Alexander — Let God arise
Create an online forum?
Live stream information
News of Future Services
Saints and Feasts — 27th May–4th June
Offer of help
On this last day of the Feast, this great and holy day, let us once more affirm our faith, our certainty, our life: Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
The Church, at this time, makes especial use of Psalm 67.
Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered; let them also that hate Him flee before his face.
As smoke vanisheth, so let them vanish away; as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.
But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God; let them rejoice with gladness.
This Psalm has as its inspiration the Book of Numbers. When the Israelites would take up the Ark of the Covenant, containing the Tablets of the Law as well as other objects, Moses would say, “Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee.” (Numbers 10:35) It has a militaristic tone, a victorious tone.
Have you been scattered from the face of God? Have I? Have we vanished from his presence like smoke? Or have we rejoiced before God.
We are at the end of the liturgical celebration of Pascha, no longer will we greet one another with “Christ is risen!” Yet we will continue to say this in our hearts, when we greet one another we may not hear the words but the reality is present between us: Christ is there in our midst when we gather together.
Tomorrow (Thursday 28th May) we will celebrate the Ascension of the Lord. The feast reminds us that this pandemic will come to an end. The Lord’s human body, made new in the Resurrection, is taken up into heaven; our body, too, will be made new so that we will be with the Lord.
And we work for this reality to exist even now in this fallen and broken world. For the entire history of the Church we have been at the forefront of alleviating hunger and suffering, cruelty and death, because this is not an eternal truth. Yes, we accept that these things exist yet we work for human rights and human dignity because a human has ascended and sits at the right hand of God. We work too for the defeat of this pandemic by prayer, by scientific research and discovery, by playing our part in social distancing to reduce the spread of this virus.
Let us be the salt of the earth: let us provide flavour to our society, preservation of our world. Let us stand firm even when our world wavers that we may guide them to the Truth, the only truth that matters:
Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling down death by death
And upon those in the tombs
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
It seems good, at the end of the Feast, to read again the Paschal Homily of St John Chrysostom. I hope this becomes more and more familiar to you and your life of faith.
If anyone is devout and a lover of God, let them enjoy this beautiful and radiant festival.
If anyone is a grateful servant, let them, rejoicing, enter into the joy of his Lord.
If anyone has wearied themselves in fasting, let them now receive recompense.
If anyone has labored from the first hour, let them today receive the just reward.
If anyone has come at the third hour, with thanksgiving let them feast.
If anyone has arrived at the sixth hour, let them have no misgivings; for they shall suffer no loss.
If anyone has delayed until the ninth hour, let them draw near without hesitation.
If anyone has arrived even at the eleventh hour, let them not fear on account of tardiness.
For the Master is gracious and receives the last even as the first; He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, just as to him who has labored from the first.
He has mercy upon the last and cares for the first; to the one He gives, and to the other He is gracious.
He both honours the work and praises the intention.
Enter all of you, therefore, into the joy of our Lord, and, whether first or last, receive your reward.
O rich and poor, one with another, dance for joy!
O you ascetics and you negligent, celebrate the day!
You that have fasted and you that have disregarded the fast, rejoice today!
The table is rich-laden: feast royally, all of you!
The calf is fatted: let no one go forth hungry!
Let all partake of the feast of faith. Let all receive the riches of goodness.
Let no one lament their poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn their transgressions, for pardon has dawned from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Saviour’s death has set us free.
He that was taken by death has annihilated it!
He descended into Hades and took Hades captive!
He embittered it when it tasted His flesh! And anticipating this, Isaiah exclaimed: “Hades was embittered when it encountered Thee in the lower regions”.
It was embittered, for it was abolished!
It was embittered, for it was mocked!
It was embittered, for it was purged!
It was embittered, for it was despoiled!
It was embittered, for it was bound in chains!
It took a body and came upon God!
It took earth and encountered Ηeaven!
It took what it saw, but crumbled before what it had not seen!
O death, where is thy sting?
O Hades, where is thy victory?
Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in a tomb!
For Christ, being raised from the dead, has become the first-fruits of them that have slept.
To Him be glory and might unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Create an online forum?
Would you be interested in meeting online? One-to-one or as a group? We could make use of technology to create an online community, ask questions, read together, pray together?
Let me know! Email email@example.com
We should follow government advice whenever we can. We are not being asked to give up or deny our Faith, but many are being told to stay socially isolated and this will last, perhaps, for many months.
How can you respond? Pray. We pray because we love and because we know the power of prayer. We pray not as a last resort but as a first response.
Is there anything you need or anything you can offer? Let me know — my telephone number and email address are on each of the emails: please get in contact if you are feeling isolated: I am here for you.
Are you willing to contact isolated people via email or phone? Let me know! It would be good to match up those who need help with those who can offer it.
The Monastery of Saints Antony and Cuthbert, Shropshire, is live-streaming its services for all who are unable to go to their own churches. These are over YouTube and can be accessed here:
Usually Vespers on Saturday evenings at 5 pm and Matins and Liturgy on Sunday mornings from 7.30 am.
News of Future Services
Given the current situation in the UK, and throughout the world, about the Covid-19 (Corona) virus it would be prudent to wait for our plans to meet together as a worshipping community. I hope and pray this will pass soon.
This is an invitation for us to repent and to pray.
We need to be praying, too, that the patron of our new community will identify himself, herself or themselves to us. I believe it will not be so much that we choose, rather we need to pray that the choice be revealed to us.
Our Facebook Page, facebook.com/orthodoxeastleigh, too, has daily additions during the week as well as on feast days. Please do like and share our page and content so we may reach a wider group of people.
Do you receive the weekly (on Fridays) text message? If not, then let me know.
Saints and Feasts
Wednesday 27th May — Leavetaking of Pascha. St Melangell, Hermit at Pennant Melangell in Wales (c 590). St Bede the Venerable (735).
Thursday 28th — The Ascension of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Friday 29th — After-feast of the Ascension. Virgin-martyr Theodosia of Tyre (307-308). St Alexander, Archbishop of Alexandria (328).
Saturday 30th — After-feast of the Ascension. St Emmelia, mother of Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Makrina and Peter of Sebaste (3rd-4th). St Hubert of Liège, Apostle of the Ardennes (727).
Sunday 31st — After-feast of the Ascension. 7th Sunday of Pascha. Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council (325). Apostle Hermas of the Seventy (1st).
Monday 1st June — After-feast of the Ascension. St Justin Martyr the Philosopher and those with him at Rome (166). Nun-Martyr Wite, patron of Dorset (6th/9th).
Tuesday 2nd — After-feast of the Ascension. St Nikephoros the Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople (829). St Odo, Archbishop of Canterbury (959).
Wednesday 3rd — After-feast of the Ascension. Martyr Lucillian and the Virgin-Martyr Paula (270-5). St Kevin, Abbot of Glendalough (618).
Thursday 4th — After-feast of the Ascension. Ss Martha and Mary, sisters of Lazarus (1st). St Petroc, Abbot of Padstow (6th).
Can I help you?
I am here for you, you need only ask. Is there a way I can support your life of faith? Get in touch.
Can you help the mission?
Yes, absolutely. Offer yourselves to the Lord: pray! Make available to him all your talents and ask him how he would like you to use them — listen for his reply.
I ask your prayers for me.
With love in the risen Christ