Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Smelting in the Refiners Pot

Great things take time to complete. This is true not only of good things, but of bad things as well. Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August details the dedication, precision, and long-term calculations of the German military. But for a few poor decisions and the surprising resolve of their opponents, the outcome of the Great War could have easily been different. The culmination of Germany's actions in World War I resulted from motivations that stretched far into her history, even before the Franco-Prussian war. Indeed, one could argue that it stretched back to Germany's beginnings as bands of tribes overshadowed and overpowered by Roman might, learning, and opulence. Was their a envy of the conquerors that grew into a desire to demonstrate through conquest the greatness of the German people? Perhaps this is too great a claim, but Tuchman characterizes German leaders as haunted by a specter of unwarranted disrespect and ostracism. Nevertheless, in the crucible of Germany's history, it is hard not to conclude that a significant amount of dross rose to prominence in its culture during the 19th and 20th centuries, and perhaps continues to be skimmed, or in need of skimming.

I imagine that applying the refiner's pot to a nation, even one as easy to pick on as Germany, rings hollow to many ears. As modern citizens of the United States steeped in the waters of individualism, there is a temptation to imagine the refiner's pot in terms of individual purification--the Lord takes each of His servants and purifies their soul of the dross of sin and corruption. There is nothing false about individual application here, but it is not the only interpretation that suits, nor is it, perhaps, the most important or relevant. Indeed, many passages of Scripture that use the crucible or the refiner's fire involve the entire nation of Israel. Moreover, the New Testament people are referred to as a body, a vine, and a bride--individual images applied to a corporate entity. There is good reason to avoid immediately individualizing; to try and consider the corporate nature of Christ's smelting (or perhaps, discipling) the nations. Consider the following an attempt to think it through.

Unrefined metals are purified through intense heat. The weightier, desired metal remains on the bottom of the pot while the lighter, undesired metals rise to the surface. The refiner scoops the dross from the surface and pours the pure metal into the desire molds for cooling. When the process is complete the purified metal has been formed into the pure image crafted by the refiner. If a culture is suited to this analogy, what would constitute the refiner, the intense heat, the pure metal, and the dross? If God is the refiner, the pure metal could be His own servants, the dross could be the servants of Satan, and the intense heat could be trials and circumstances--things like "acts of God" (earthquakes, famines, floods, etc.), wars with foreign powers, societal conflicts (persecutions, injustices, corruptions at various levels of authority), and all other circumstances that draw out the true nature of a people--will they respond as pure servants of God, or will they reveal themselves to be servants of Satan? Once the heat has become intense enough to cause full separation, the Refiner is free to remove from the midst of His people those servants of Satan that have been corrupting their collective purity.

Depending upon the relative purity of the ore, there may be less or more precious metal present. The less pure metal, the longer the process of refining, since the dross will be great and may require a number of scoops to removes all that is present. Even when the presence of precious metal of an ore is relatively high, the purest form of that precious metal requires the most intense heating treatment, to ensure the full separation of the dross.

Regardless of what quantity of precious metal a culture retains, or of what quality of purity the Refiner desires to make, there is one factor that is inevitable, and that is the presence of intense heat. The people of God will not always face trials of equal intensity, trials of equal kind. But any culture without trials is a culture that is, a) fully refined, or b) cooling into a mold, or c) not in the Refiner's care. The first scenario would be impossible this side of glory; the second would be a transitional place--a respite between one round of refining and the next; and the third scenario would make the culture dross, a culture to be cast aside.

As a citizen of the United States and a Christian who takes Christ's command to disciple the nations as a statement of His plan for universal conquest, it doesn't take long to identify the process of separation occurring within the culture. The State continues to embrace political agendas that marginalize Christian doctrine and practice in the public sphere, and a good number of Christians have embraced this marginalization as a healthy, right, and desirable place for the Church. Public education has consistently undermined the authority of the Scriptures and the validity of theological claims in any arena of debate that isn't explicitly religious--even ethical debates exile theological argument, usually distinguishing ethics as a public arena, and pushing theology into the private arena of "morality," unwilling to question the suitability of such distinctions. Christians who wish to live faithfully to Christ are more and more frequently being pushed out of not only the public sphere of policy-making, but the economic and educational spheres of life as well. Christian businesses being prosecuted for refusing to supply employees with benefits, which can be used for abortions; or Christian business being prosecuted for refusing to offer services that compromise their religious convictions about faithful practice are becoming commonplace.

The separation of Christ's precious metal from the surrounding dross appears more evident now than ever, and it can be a cause for thanksgiving, for it will be less and less difficult to see the choice between obedience and disobedience, faithfulness and faithlessness. The difficulty comes in being tried by fire to choose obedience over disobedience, faithfulness over faithlessness. For those who claim that seeing the right choice remains difficult, there is real danger that there is nothing precious to be recovered, that the heat won't be felt, because they are not in the pot, or are already floating on the surface, away from the heat and ready to be swept away. As the heat intensifies, the precious metals may be plunged beneath the surface, but they will be together, and a greater purity--a greater unity--will emerge, though it may not be noticeable for all the dross that may be present to the eye. Those with ears to hear and eyes to see will be where the precious metals are, weighted down with the glory of Christ their Head, for that is how the smelting process of the Refiner's pot works.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Importance of Easter Season in the Gospel

In winter trees lose their leaves, wise gardeners prune the branches of their trees, shrubs, and vines in order to survive the harsh cold of frost that kills. Animals enter their long sleep of temporary death, wild things retreat into the earth, and the Son of Man enters into the grave in the calendar of Christianity--the once for all sacrifice remembered.

It is as certain as Scripture that Christ's death was a once for all sacrifice for sin, and that His resurrection from the dead was the first fruits of a general resurrection of the Cosmos, including the microcosmic Man. It is just as certain that this one act has both eternal and temporal significance, stretching from before the Creation of the World into the Everlasting Kingdom, impinging upon, nay imbuing, every facet of God's activity with Resurrection Power and Authority.

It is no accident that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ came in the season of Spring, nor is it accidental that the Church has long commemorated and celebrated the Resurrection as a season rather than as a singular day. Resurrection declares God's victory over death and the reclamation of His Kingdom from the usurpation of Satan, who was given dominion over the kingdom for a time in the wake of Adam's abdication and insurrection. Winter, in which all things die, culminates in the death of the Last Adam, the descent into Hell wherein the conquering Christ wrests the keys of the kingdom from the usurper and restores them to the right hand of God Almighty after preparing His generals to herald His victory to all nations, proclaiming their release and demanding their fidelity.

There is a sense in which the proof of the Resurrection is imbedded in Creation, and that the obvious resurrection of life in the cycle of Spring is the crying out of the rocks that Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! The welling up of life under the earth that bursts forth into lush greens, radiant whites, vermillion reds, cerulean blues, resplendent purples, and the life are the silent praises of the earth. The gestating life of the wombs and eggs of the animals break free from their tombs and cry out to the world "I'm alive!" and this is the audible praise to the Risen King.

When Christians look at the world, we are all too human. We see ourselves, and often times we see in the life of unbelievers immanent Falls and barren Winters. The cycle of sin knows no Spring, and we have not yet entered into the eternal Summer, where the Sun reigns supreme over the earth and casts out all shadow, all chills, and brings the life of Spring into full maturity. When we see with the eyes of Creation, which through its unending cycles of life, maturation, decay, and death groans for the rest of unending fructification--when we see through the eyes of Creation we inhabit the very Gospel proclamation. All the life of Spring is the image of the life that Jesus brings in His reign. Only men in love with death can deny the joys of life that Spring affords. Only men blind can fail to see that the life of Spring is the life of the Resurrection, no longer something longed for, but something witnessed, testified to, signed, sealed, and delivered unto men by a Heavenly, Reigning, King. There is only faith, hope, and love for the People of God--there is no more the darkness of ignorance, no more the fearful waiting for deliverance.

The Sun rises in the East; it is the Easter of our Lord and Christ, and He comes in power through His people, a foretaste of the power He shall bring when He comes again to usher in the Feast of eternal Summer! Bow down, O Church, and rise! Bow down, O World, lest you perish! "Lift up your heads, O gates, And lift them up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in!"

Open our eyes, O God, to see! Open our ears, O God, to hear! Open our mouths, O God, to speak! Let us see in all that You have done, all that Christ has done, and all that He is doing now and into tomorrow, that we may join the dance of flowers and fauns, the songs of birds and baboons, the quiet and clamorous worship of a Risen God and King!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Rhetoric Assignment

Using Cicero’s introductory defense of his right to defend Murena from the speech Pro Murena, and using the narrative of David and Saul from 1 Samuel, defend Jonathan’s right to support David against the following hypothetical accusations from the Court of Saul:

1)     Jonathan is wrong to support David because David is a traitor to the crown;
2)    Jonathan is wrong to support David even if David is not a traitor, because Jonathan owes loyalty to his father, Saul, over his friend, David; and
3)     Jonathan is wrong to support David because Jonathan should be supporting his own claim to follow Saul as King, and not David’s.
You should imitate Cicero’s attempts to maintain high ethos with his opponents; in other words, you want Jonathan to maintain a good reputation and good relations with the Court of Saul. You should also imitate Cicero’s argumentation insofar as it is analogous to the types of arguments Jonathan can make in response to the Court of Saul; for example, Cicero’s position as former Proconsul is somewhat analogous to Jonathan’s position as Crown Prince. Prior to the test you should read the narrative of David and Saul, beginning as far back as 1 Samuel 8 to get the context of Saul’s rise to Kingship. You should also read and make use of Cicero’s introductory remarks in Pro Murena. You may use your Bible and Pro Murena as you write your defense. You may speak as Jonathan himself, or as a counselor defending Jonathan. Use the following outline:

1.      Introduction
2.     Division of points
3.     Confirmation & Refutation
a.     “Some say that Jonathan is wrong to. . .” but to this I respond. . .
b.    “Some say that Jonathan is wrong to. . .” but to this I respond. . .
c.     “Some say that Jonathan is wrong to. . .” but to this I respond. . .
4.     Conclusion

You will be graded on your ability to imitate Cicero and your ability to answer the arguments using claims that are strong, relevant to the Biblical text, and analogous to Cicero’s defense of his right to defend Murena.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Cornered Wounded

Bear with me as I tease out an analogy. Like all analogies, it will break down, but I'm curious to see what the correspondences offer.

Imagine sin as a wound upon the soul. Like physical wounds, sin causes pain, but certain kinds of attention to the wound also produce a temporary relief. To heal a wound causes pain, but generally increases discomfort rather than offering immediate relief. Indeed, sometimes healing the wound requires removal of a portion of the body, and in the case of the soul, the operation is more like curing cancer than, say, a laceration, since 1) the soul is simple and indivisible, and 2) is therefore effected entirely by the sin, rather than in a "part."

Imagine humans as animals. Like animals, humans have instinctual patterns governed by an innate nature. If an object comes flying by a man's eye, he will blink. If a woman trips and nearly stumbles over a precipice, her heartbeat increases and adrenaline pumps through her body, preparing it for the perceived injury that is possible. When cornered, an animal will make a show of size, sound, and fierceness in order to intimidate a perceived predator into flight. Barring that, the animal will fight with abandon, until either the predator is neutralized, or the opportunity for flight presents itself.

The physical realities of wounds and animal instincts are useful analogies for the spiritual situation that humans face with one another. When a man is in sin, there is a kind of pleasure he gets from indulging the sin, even though he may (depending upon how self-deceived) regret the indulgence later. When the sin is exposed to the Balm of Christ offered in the Gospel, there is a real chance that the response will be more like the cornered animal than a lovesick orphan. This can happen in different ways, though. For the creature who cannot imagine healing, or has grown to love the wound and believe it to be natural to her soul, the instinct of ferocity at being cornered is truly a response to perceive predation--they sense the immanence of death (i.e., my way of being must be no more), and the response is threatening, shouting, violence, even murderous violence.

For the creature who is merely shocked at the pain of the Gospel, the bowing up may be more like an involuntary response to pain than an instinctual response to predation. Once past the initial shock, the posturing resides into something more normal, perhaps even curious as to what this new intrusion into her environment means.

The effects of applying Christ to the problem of sin is not limited to unbelievers, either. Christians can respond to Christ in the flesh or in the spirit, and often times there is a measure of confusion whilst the two opposing natures fight for mastery of the soul's affections, beliefs, and overwhelming desire. The difference is that the Christian always has the Spirit united with her soul in such a way as to give opportunity for a willing reception of Christ's balm applied to the sin. For the unbeliever, there is no guarantee that the Spirit will be working in that one's or another's soul for reception, or, that the work will be one of union (i.e. the Spirit exerts influence over the soul, but not through uniting with it, at least not in a vital way).

What's the use of such an analogy? For one it appears to engender pity, insofar as one is already able to pity wounded animals whose response to one's aid may be hostile, or even fatal. Another is that it affords a measure of patience and circumspection for the believer, who, though he or she is a new creation, still carries around habits and instincts of the flesh. A romantic mind tends to identify the spontaneous, immediate, and intutitive response with authenticity, truth, or even the work of the Spirit; but such things can as easily be the instincts of a wounded (fatally, but still in its death throes) flesh. It can be mastered, but not if one doesn't recognize its presence in the reaction to the balm of Christ.

Easter Octave #8

Crown the King for He is worthy,
Feeds the hungry, sates the thirsty!
His largess rolls like thunderous rain,
Doubling o'er again and again!
The music of the spheres resounds,
All earth becomes hallowéd ground!
Come join Him at the gathered feast,
Come high and low! Come great and least!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Easter Octave #7

From lies Christ rose to set us free,
From the clutch of lifeless ennui,
From false smiles managed just to cope,
From sad eyes sullied by lost hope,
From guilt and shame earned or conjured,
From death Christ rose--and these conquered.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Easter Octave #6

The stroke of death could not him slay,
Burst from the grave on the third day.
Having conquered all, all he owns,
All kingdoms, all powers, all thrones.
On high He reigns by His merit;
Draws near to men by His Spirit.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Easter Octave #5

Splintered light spreads over the world,
As folds of hist'ry gape, unfurled,
Sleepers awake! Don't close your eyes!
God's Spirit with your spirit plies.
Face the faceless and kiss the Son,
Liven lifeless our King is Come!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Resurrection Power

In trying to live conscious of the ongoing celebration of Easter this week, I've encountered two circumstances that seem to oppose my efforts to maintain joyfulness at Christ's Resurrection, but upon closer inspection are precisely why the Resurrection offers joy to those who place their trust in Christ.

The first circumstance is that, since Resurrection Sunday, I've been laid low by illness. A low grade fever complete with chest congestion, cough, sinus congestion, runny nose, sneezing, and today the illness added another twist I'll not mention for those readers less interested in such details. Needless to say the power of the Resurrection is easily overshadowed by the veil of sickness, lethargy, and the necessity to survive the basic tasks of cleaning, feeding, clothing, and caring for a family of four boys seven and under without pandemonium.

The second circumstance is that I've been reading Barbara Tuchman's excellent book on the first month of WWI, Guns of August. It is a long, engaging, interwoven account of the figures and their decisions that led to war, drew it out for far longer than most expected, and (I've yet to read the end) may conclude on a note of deep sobriety. The incompetence, petty pride, juvenile natures of the men who pursued their objectives during the war is a sad tale of human corruption, all in the name of peace, salvation of humanity, and the obtaining the rightful place of X in the world. It is remarkable to me that Germany could have exhibited the sort of blind indifference to the full nature of their actions. It seems as though the more vibrant the Christianity of an earlier age, the more precipitous becomes the descent into idolatry and self-destruction; at least if Europe is any kind of litmus test for such a claim.

It would seem that such distracting and dark features would obscure the glory of the Resurrection, but quite the opposite has been the case. Looking through the discomfort of sickness and the distress of human atrocity at the risen Christ is the only reminder that these trials and tribulations are not purposeless agonies thrust upon us from out of the void, nor are the they History's slaughter bench toward self-actualization of the autonomous individual. Illness, pain, death, evil, pride, hubris, lethargy, lasciviousness, and all the other vices and dark certainties of life are a Great Curse, the power of which was destroyed forever in the Resurrection of the God-Man who both brings divinity close to man, and man close to the Divine.

It is a slow leeching, this power of the Resurrection. Enemies will continue to try and repulse it. Christians will continue to pretend they don't need it. The world will ebb and flow in its courses of greater and lesser acknowledgment of the King of Kings, but there is no overcoming the Great Fact of His Reign; there is no retreat from the wake of His host. The sooner we are able to submit ourselves to His gracious reign, the sooner we will find ourselves caught up in the realities of Resurrection power that are pressing heaven into this vast and universal globe of existence until it can no longer keep any darkness hidden, no corruption unconquered, no hurt un-mended, no joy unfulfilled.

Despair is dead.
Defeat is dead.
Death is dead.
Christ is Risen!

Easter Octave #4

Let not midpoint languish settle,
Tedious tasks thwart your mettle.
Find Joy in midst of much malaise,
Lift hearts of gratitude in praise!
A strength is ours, though derided,
Meekness in which we confided,
To receive from God all our gain,
So March we on in His sure name!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter Octave #3

A cry goes out through all the land,
Come join with us, a merry band!
We walk in love, we laugh at fear,
For Joy is ours, God has drawn near!
Why languish still in dark of night?
Why cower in the cold of fright?
Enter Rest and cultivate Peace,
The Mighty are fallen: rise Least!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Octaves #1 & #2

He is risen, risen indeed!
Christ, the lamb, hath fulfilled our need,
Sorrows banished by famished death,
Children reborn by Spirit's breath!
Come worship the King, Risen Christ!
Come worship our God, Risen Christ!
Let all the world see, hear, and know,
Death has been dealt a killing blow!

Dazzled eyes sparkle with New Light,
A world remade comes into sight.
Heaven breaths upon the new world,
The New Age of Man comes unfurled!
New Adam reigns on His high throne,
New liberty His pow'r makes known,
The power of life and keys of death,
Both are commanded by His breath!

2015 Lenten Prayers (collected)

O God resplendent, my poor prayer attend,
I ask this gift from Thee for kith and kin,
Do grant, Thou Blessed One, Holy and True,
More knowledge of Thee forever and amen.

Good Lord I ask that You bright zeal renew,
Within the men of pulpit and of pew,
In doctrine sound and piety make known,
Thy Light: the Good, the Beautiful, and True.

O Lord my God by pow'r your hand has shown,
How to kill, how to raise, how to make grown,
I ask that on Your children such pow'r last,
Till all the wicked from this orb be thrown. 

Cause us O Lord to remember the past,
Counting Thy mercies and holding them fast,
Spare us the vengeance we justly deserve,
Lest from Your presence this people be cast.

Lord fill Thy people with a will to serve,
Seal up all their heart wounds and steel their nerve,
Against fear or foe, against wrack and woe,
Thy name to proclaim; Thy name to preserve.

Train us, Lord of Hosts, to fend off the foe,
Vain weltering hordes in fiery glow,
If to be wracked, to be hacked, is our lot,
May our martyr-blood Thy long-suff'ring show.

Wheat and tares, O Lord, are tied as a knot,
Twined together till the end is their lot,
Grow us all, Lord God, to fullness of fruit,
That all Thy grace and judgment shall be brought.

'Gainst the Accuser, vainglorious brute,
Us strengthen, confirm, us fashion and suit,
Great Father bring forth Thy armies of light,
Our vanguard to ward off arrows he shoots.

Thy flesh and Thy blood be our full delight,
Against all evils of encroaching night,
Thy Body in rev'rent postures repose,
To quench all its thirsts and quell all its fright.

Let me dwell in the day that Christ arose,
As Thy Spirit's bond within my soul grows,
Knitted tighter through tribulation's work,
That all Thy strength to me, outwardly shows.

Let our praise of Thee, Lord, be a bulwark,
Thy great commission, O let not us shirk,
As ebbing time waxes to its fullness,
Let the flow of nations fill up Thy Kirk.

Almighty God pierce through present darkness,
All wayward sons bring under Thy harness,
Heal the wounds caused by our cursèd mouthings,
Speak Words of Life to vivify deadness.

Forget O Lord our incessant cursing,
For the sake of Your Son, His life coursing;
Covering, removing, destroying sin,
Draw us o'er the impassible crossing.

In this broken realm of sin-woe and din,
Where self-righteous cov'rings are ripped open,
None can say, "All may look to me for peace,"
Thy broken body and blood cry out then!

O Lamb who covers in Thy spotless fleece,
Cause all the world's self-righteousness to cease,
'Neath the wave of immaculate glory,
Poured forth from Thy everlasting increase.

Although 'tis known, the end of this story,
Labors and losses cause us to worry,
Cause us grief, pain, and a creeping despair,
O Lord gird us against dismal flurry!

Radiant light streaming from Thy face so fair,
Beckons praise from my poor lips without spare,
Tune my lips, O Lord, yea, moreso my heart,
That this praising of you be done with care.

Let both soul and body be set apart,
Until that day when the soul does depart,
Pure and holy, chastened until chaste be,
That Thee in me inhabit ev'ry part.

O God-Incarnate bind Thyself to me,
Grafted in Thy Body by Thy decree,
You have chosen and in my choosing I,
Reveal to the world Thy grace and mercy.

From Thy light the darkest evil does fly,
By Thy power the staunchest foes comply,
By Thy love an enemy is turned friend,
The once dead, now living, learn how to die.

Into the broken world Thy people send,
Into winds of a storm to brace and bend,
Rooted in Thy Love we cannot be torn,
From Thee, no enemy power can rend.

When all sin Thou hast from us stripped and shorn,
And Light of Thy countenance shines as morn,
Then shall speaking and doing blossom full,
And praises sing out as blast of bright horn.

From among all the nations Your people cull,
The hearts of kings and kingdoms push and pull,
Until the fullness of time and age swell,
And all Your enemies' schemes are made null.

Let us in Thy dear presence always dwell,
That our hearts and our minds be always well,
Our desires be overflowing in Thee,
Our confidence growing, all fears to quell.

When eyes have not the strength by which to see,
Let our blindness become humility,
Guard, guide, wake, walk, overshadow with Thy wing,
To lead us, take us, into Thy glory.

May lisping tongues ever, professions, sing,
May meek off'rings ever, confessors, bring,
Unto this God-Man, Christ Jesus, the Lord,
Our savior, our brother, our conq'ring king.

Smitten by pestilence, famine, and sword,
Sundered as by fire, consumed by discord,
Wrenching and blenching, upturning our face,
To One in whom all are made one accord.

Slanderers and thieves do mock our disgrace,
Condemning our worship, sacking our space,
Loose our chains and bind our enemy's hand,
That Thy name may resound from place to place.

Number Thy people as You number sand,
Raise up Thy armies as a glorious band,
Stave off Thy wrath till the timing is sure,
Then set loose vengeance; by trumpet command.

Under curse, the world desires a cure,
From the filth of death to be remade pure,
When the Light, breaking through darkness, gleaming,
Transforming men's souls by Beauty's allure.

The Stars of heaven shall fall down streaming,
As their wails of anguish cry out, screaming,
Fell demons fallen into molten flame,
Christ's Holy Light in all-brightness beaming.

All men of the world took share in the blame,
But only One Man could bear all the shame,
Dying and living once more by His pow'r,
That all might worship on hearing His Name.

Our Fallen Lord at the desperate hour,
Left once fair faces of his people dour,
Then despair did grip fallen hearts of men,
And Satan cast a victory glower.

Crushed within by the weight of human sin,
Spat upon, ridiculed by raucous din,
Christ received our shame, becoming a curse,
That in His death, life should arise again.

Sold off by the one who carried the purse,
His life for the world, did life reimburse,
The cost was His glory; glory His gain;
Paradox refrain, every note and verse.

The creation groans with great cries of pain,
The howling din sounds dissonant refrain,
The music of life languishes deformed,
'Til resounding of harmony again.

Through a flood of blood creation reformed,
Blossomed in new life willingly conformed,
Into express image of Heaven's Son,
When graves cracked open and the heavens stormed.

I struggle, O God, though Your Deed is done,
Your conquest oft seems unmade and undone,
And in me a filth lingers like the dark,
Of a world groaning in birth pangs begun.

Nearest to the heart Thou settest Thy mark,
Oe'r seas of death in Your bosom, our bark,
No sting, no pow'r oe'r, hath evil a claim,
Thy dawning light hath swallowéd the dark.

Let all the world call upon Thy strong name,
Let sinners come and be cleansed of their shame,
Tears of joy replace the tears of mourning,
Songs of praise ring to pronounce Thy great fame!

The night of death You broke into morning,
Satan's mockery became his scorning,
The angels rejoicing, held high their hands,
Shouting praises to Thy name, adorning.

As storms roll in heaps of threatening bands,
Gloomy darkness spreads out over the lands,
An aching wonder and the awe of dread,
No one beside Him as yet understands.

O lift up, Thou sacred, Thou wounded head!
Thou are drooping low, hung down as though dead,
Alas! Thy spirit departs with Thy breath,
All of Thy sheep have scatteréd and fled.

The heavens darken before the Christ's death,
The earth breaks open revealing its breadth,
The veil that separates dead and living,
Tears apart as Christ's pow'r extends its depth.

The death that holds Thee gives us misgiving,
We cannot see all that You are giving,
Our faces fall with the light of the sun,
Hoping that God will still be forgiving.

Heads bowed now rise to kiss the Risen Son,
His resurrection work accomplished, won,
Do grant, Thou Blessed One, Holy and True,
Resurrection pow'r 'til our work is done.