Bright Friday and Feast of St Symeon the Holy Martyr & Bishop of Persia
YESTERDAY THE lamb was slaughtered, and the doorposts were anointed, and the Egyptians lamented the firstborn, and the destroyer passed over us, and the seal was awesome and venerable, and we were walled in by the precious blood. Today we have totally escaped Egypt and Pharaoh the harsh despot and the burdensome overseers, and we have been freed from the clay and the brick-making. And nobody hinders us from celebrating a feast of exodus for the Lord our God and keeping feast “not with the old leaven of malice and wickedness but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor. 5.8), bringing nothing of the Egyptian and godless dough.
Yesterday I was crucified with Christ, today I am glorified with him; yesterday I died with him, today I am made alive with him; yesterday I was buried with him, today I rise with him. But let us make an offering to the one who died and rose again for us. Perhaps you think I am speaking of gold or silver or tapestries or transparent precious stones, earthly matter that is in flux and remains below, of which the greater part always belongs to evil people and slaves of things below and of the ruler of this world (Jn. 14.30). Let us offer our own selves, the possession most precious to God and closest to him. Let us give back to the Image that which is according to the image, recognizing our value, honoring the Archetype, knowing the power of the mystery and for whom Christ died.
Let us become like Christ, since Christ also became like us; let us become gods because of him, since he also because of us became human. He assumed what is worse that he might give what is better. He became poor that we through his poverty might become rich (2 Cor. 8.9). He took the form of a slave (Phil. 2.7), that we might regain freedom (Rom. 8.21). He descended that we might be lifted up, he was tempted that we might be victorious, he was dishonored to glorify us, he died to save us, he ascended to draw to himself us who lay below in the Fall of sin. Let us give everything, offer everything, to the one who gave himself as a ransom and an exchange for us (Matt. 20.28, 16.26). But one can give nothing comparable to oneself, understanding the mystery and becoming because of him everything that he became because of us.
—St Gregory the Theologian, “On Pascha and His Slowness”