Literary evidence from early Christian writers (Epistula Apostolorum; Melito of Sardis, Peri Pascha) as well as St. Paul’s words to the Christians at Corinth (1 Cor. 5:8) indicate that the Paschal Feast was the earliest annual celebration shared by the Faithful. Thus, this week is a good opportunity for us to seek wisdom from the saints gone before us, and as Lutherans, to mine the resources of our own tradition. The following is quoted from The Church Year: Studies in Introits, Collects, Epistles and Gospels by Paul Zeller Strodach, published in 1924, for Tuesday in Holy Week (pp. 137-138, emphasis in original).
Introit: God forbid that I should glory: save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. [Gal. 6:14]
In Him is salvation, life and resurrection from the dead: by Him we are redeemed and set at liberty.
Psalm: God be merciful unto us, and bless us: and cause His face to shine upon us. [Ps. 67:1]
Collect: Almighty and Everlasting God, grant us grace so to contemplate the Passion of our Lord, that we may find therein forgiveness for our sins; through the same Jesus Christ … [Gelasian Sacramentary]
The Collect turns our hearts to the true use of these hours—the most fruitful use—contemplation…. The Introit calls [this contemplation] glorying in our Lord’s Cross; the Collect tells us what we find, not by merit or discovery but in the fullness of communion with our dear Lord one finds what it means when the hearts knows the forgiveness of sins!
Photo: The Passover Moon setting in the west over St. Paul, Minnesota on the morning of March 29, 2021.