I went to church today. It is another week into this strange time, into which we seem to be wading. At least today the weather was mild and sunny, with a soft spring breeze.
It is the second Sunday after Pascha, the Sunday of the Myrrhbearing Women. They are the ones who when bringing sweet-smelling things to prepare and honor Christ’s body in the tomb, were the first to witness the resurrection. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, who had removed His body from the cross and placed it in the tomb are also remembered with them.
These were the people closest and most intimate with Him. They were the ones who handled His body which had been defiled by torture and execution. They bathed it, and carefully prepared and placed it in a new tomb. In all the world, these were the few who saw Him in this condition, touched Him and were able to honor Him most immediately with their actions. Their hands got wet with the blood and water as they did this.
Throughout our lives, there are certain people who we come to know, and in time we see patterns emerge from the story of their lives. We come to understand these patterns. Then, in time, perhaps years later, we see these same patterns emerging in our own life, and we know what to do. We remember the dead, pray for their souls, care for their bodies and see the continuity of our lives with theirs.
After the liturgy we went down to the cemetery and proclaimed the resurrection to all those in the tombs. We went to each grave and told our brother or sister, now represented by a stone, that Christ Is Risen!
Troparion (Tone 2)
The noble Joseph, taking down thy most pure Body from the Tree,
Wrapped it in clean linen and sweet spices and laid it in a new tomb.
But on the third day thou didst rise,
O Lord, granting the world great mercy.
Troparion (Tone 2)
Verily, the angel came to the tomb and said to the ointment-bearing women,
“the ointment is meet for the dead,
but Christ is shown to be remote from corruption.
But cry ye, ‘The Lord is risen, granting the world the Great Mercy.'”
Kontakion – Tone 2
You did command the myrrh-bearers to rejoice, O Christ!
By Your Resurrection, You did stop the lamentation of Eve, O God!
You did command Your apostles to preach: The Savior is Risen!