he was pulled away by death.
And one of the first born,
grasping the material darkness in his hand,
as his life was stripped away,
cried out in distress and terror:
“Whom does my hand hold?
Whom does my soul dread?
Who is the dark one enfolding my whole body?
If it is a father, help me.
If it is a mother, comfort me.
If it is a brother, speak to me.
If it is a friend, support me.
If it is an enemy, depart from me,
for I am a first-born.”
Before the first-born fell silent, the long silence held
him and spoke to him:
“You are my first-born,
I am your destiny, the silence of death.”
St. Melito obviously offers an alternative view of the world. The Christ who “trampled down death by death,” the Lord of Pascha, is foreshadowed in the world (particularly the account of the Old Testament). The Christ proclaimed by St. Melito is the Christ who confronts death itself, including the meaninglessness that we know too well in our modern world. This Christ is God in the Flesh, who has condescended into the existence of man and grappled with the “destiny of the silence of death.” In the face of the death of His friend, Lazarus, Christ cries out, “Lazarus, come forth!” With that cry the Church’s observance of Holy Week begins.
For the complete post by Fr. Stephen Freeman click here.