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The Feast of the Resurrection MMXII

O God, who on this day through thine only-begotten Son hast, by his having vanquished death, unlocked for us the gate of eternity, grant us, we beseech thee, that through the renewal of the Holy Spirit, we may rise from death of soul.

[The Hermeneutic of Continuity…]
Deus, qui hodierna die, per Unigenitum tuum, aeternitatis nobis aditum, devicta morte, reserasti, da nobis, quaesumus, ut qui resurrectionis dominicae sollemnia colimus, per innovationem tui Spiritus a morte animae resurgamus.
--Gelesian Sacramentary

Introit:  When I awake I am still with thee. Hallelujah.…
Ps:  O Lord thou hast searched me and known me…
Epistle:  1 Corinthians 5:6-8  Your glorying is not good…
Gradual:  This is the day that the Lord hath made…
Gospel:  Mark 16:1-8  And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene…

See it all here

Anglican version based on a later Latin collect

ALMIGHTY God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; We humbly beseech thee that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The collect makes a point of specfying a specific day, O God, Who on this day" (qui hodierna die). This is the day the Resurrection is celebrated.  Paul wrote, "Even as Christ our passover is sacrificed for us, let us keep the feast" [1 Corinthians 5:7].  Indeed! Let us keep this Feast!  

The Feast of the Resurrection is undoubtedly the oldest on the Church calendar. It was the effort of Constantine and the bishops to try to keep it on one specific day throughout the Empire, and so it was observed for centuries after until the Gregorian calendar separated the East and the West.  

These regulations of the First Ecumenical Council are as follows:
"That Easter must always be celebrated on a Sunday."
"That Easter must never be celebrated on the same day as the Jewish Passover."
"That Easter should never be celebrated on or before the vernal equinox of any year."
and that the Church at Alexandria should inform the broader church through Rome of its date - year by year.
Sunday-by-Sunday: There are actually 52 celebrations of the Resurrection, as each Sunday is intended as a remembrance that "Christ died for thee" and was raised from the dead. We hear this message repeated in the divine liturgy week by week. But is is on this specific Feast of the Resurrection that the world as the ancients knew was changed for ever. It was on this day that God sealed his promise of old with the Resurrection of his Son and the scriptures were fulfilled. It is on this day that we celebrate the high feast of our faith.

The collect speaks of the great victory when Christ vanquished death (devicta morte). Jesus said, "I have overcome the world"  [John 16:33] and again, "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out." [John 12:31]   Paul wrote, "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." [1 Corinthians 15:57] and again, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"  [1 Corinthians 15:55]

To what end? What has this victory done for those in Christ? The collect tells us. The approach (way) to eternal life (aeternitatis nobis aditum has been opened to us. That is our victory; that is our hope; that is our faith.  Paul was very specific in what belief was required of man to secure this great victory; he wrote, "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."  

There are many in this day that would identify themselves as "christians" and yet will boldly deny both of these precepts. They are lost sheep with lost shepherds.  

Do you believe -- in truth?  It is natural in this day with all the world speaking against miracles that doubts and questions might be raised in your mind. God can and will help those who come to him in humble confession of  those doubts.  Remember the conversation between Jesus and the man with the possessed child? "Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." [Mark 9:23-24]  What did he tell Peter before his crucifixion? " Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.Why? why did he not just leave Peter to fall into the hands of Satan? Because Peter was his. The Father had given him to his Son.  He prays from his seat of glory in heaven for each of his own that our strength may be such to resist evil and to believe in his holy Gospel [John 17]. We know that  "things which are impossible with men are possible with God." [Luke 18:27], and that our belief is a gift of God,  Take heart brothers; before his death and resurrection he made a promise to his disciples, and all that would come to believe through them.  He said, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand." [John 10:27-30]. It is his purpose to bring his own into the great Victory over Satan and to share in his joy, and with no saint left behind!

 Finally, in the collect we have the scriptural formula for the Victory.  Is it by dead works? No!  Is it by pious religious acts and sacrifies? No! Well then, it must by the denomination you have membership in and your station in the denomination. No! What saith scripture? What saith our collect? that we may "rise again from the death of the soul through the renewing of your Spirit." (per innovationem tui Spiritus a morte animae resurgamus.). Jesus said,  I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you" [John 14:16] .  

Thank you God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen

Praise the LORD!    The Lord is risen; he is risen indeed!     Praise the LORD!


(Portions were paraphrased and passages cited from The Collect of the Day, by Paul Zeller Strodach, 1939, The United Lutheran Press, Philadelphia)
The Ancient Collect: Its history and form

Released by Primus Pilus
Legio Christi-Ecclesia Militans
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]


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