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Lindemann on Wednesday in Holy Week

by revalkorn ~ April 14th, 2011

Just in case . . .

WEDNESDAY IN HOLY WEEK

This day marks the actual beginning of the events, that reached their culmination in the Crucifixion: the Sanhedrin’s conspiracy and their contract with Judas, on account of which the day sometimes is called Spy Wednesday. On this and the two succeeding days the ancient Church used an office called Tenebrae very late at night or before daybreak. Fifteen candles on a large triangular stand were extinguished one after another, following lessons and the like, until the church was in complete darkness.

The Introit. “At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth. For He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto Thee.”

Victory is foreshadowed, yes, asserted. With wonderful song the Introit, even in these deepening hours, gives glory to Him whom the prophet so many years before saw returning glorious in His apparel, bearing the marks of His awful travail and struggle, but as Conqueror! To Him, to His name, all things bow, every knee to the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, Jesus!

The Collect. “Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we, who for our evil deeds are continually afflicted, may mercifully be relieved by the Passion of Thine only-begotten Son, who liveth,” etc.

Note the utter simplicity and restraint. There are so many things crowding in, so many things to pray for, but this simple little prayer “collects” and carries all our ills to the one and only Source of healing. Its lesson is most salutary. In the Introit we pray: “Let my cry come unto Thee.” What is it that we want and need so desperately that we should cry for it? The Collect cries for merciful relief from our evil deeds, from sin, from the sin that crucified our Lord. We cry for rescue, for healing, for salvation by His Passion.

The Epistle (Is. 62:11-63:7). This is another of Isaiah’s Messianic prophecies. It begins with a dramatic announcement. It is full of promise and most eloquent in these deep hours of fulfillment. It not only foretells the struggle but also the return of the Victor from the strife, “glorious in His apparel, marching in the greatness of His strength.” As the Introit states: “At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow.” To the Victor the glory!

The Gradual. “Hide not Thy face from Thy Servant, for I am in trouble; hear Me speedily. Save Me, O God, for the waters are come in unto My soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing.”

The Tract. “Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto Thee. Thou shalt arise and have mercy upon Zion; for the time is come to favor her, yea, the set time is come.”

The Proper Sentence. “Christ hath humbled Himself and become obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

The Gospel (St. Luke 22:1-23:42) or the Passion History.

The Proper Preface. “Who on the tree of the cross didst give salvation unto mankind that, whence death arose, thence life also might rise again; and that he who by a tree once overcame likewise by a tree be overcome, through Christ, our Lord, through whom,” etc.

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