Thus did a nation of sinners rise up to kill God

 

Many in the world will stumble and fall because of Your Son, O Lord longer than time and more blessed than temporal generations.(1)

The princes of the people joined forces with robbers against the
Most Pure Christ, as did the priests with false wit­nesses and the learned with the demented.

Oh how majestic He is in His aloneness and in the purity of His way!

The scribes, who had spent their lifetime interpreting the law of God, now all rose up in unison not only to judge, but to put a man to death.

The leaders of the people, who wore the written law from Sinai on their breast, around their waist and on their temples, forgot the several thousand years of their being trained in justice, and like ravenous wolves they ran after the Man of peace and goodness to tear Him apart.

The merchants closed their shops and drew their daggers to kill Him.

The elders, decorated with countless external reminders of God's miracles among their people, but with no internal ones, dragged themselves from their hearths to join in the kill.

The youths, who tend to revel whenever their elders urge them to do something wicked, went out with sticks and stones to commit murder before sitting down for the Passover and glorifying God.

Even the women rose up for blood, and led their children forth, so that even the children could assist in a national deed.

Cutthroats and ruffians, who on other days would have been slithering through the shadows and alley-ways, now became leaders to the leaders and princes to the princes.

For the criminals in prison came the day of liberation, for the people needed them to teach them how to kill a man.(2)

All the visitors (in Jerusalem) who had come to the city for the feast in order to bow down to Heaven and petition God, turned their backs on the Temple and, together with their hosts and innkeepers, rushed to seek the blood of a righteous man.

The priests forgot the Temple and set out with their sacrificial knives, in order to save the people from God.

The lame and the crippled raised their crutches and the blind raised their begging-bowls -- as their only weapons to help kill the healer.

Thus did a nation of sinners rise up, as unanimously as grass, to kill God. And the dagger that they swung against God slipped, and they stabbed themselves in the heart.

Grant that I not also fall, O dearest Lord!

Open the eyes of my soul, so that I may see and learn from the fate of sinners.

May my feet not follow those, who march against You.

May I never in any way raise a stone at You and slay myself forever.

Grant that I not also fall, O dearest Lord.

_________________________________________________________ 1. Matt. 26:31-33; 1 Cor. 1:23; 1 Peter 2:7-8. 2. Matt. 27:15-26.

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"As the Prophets saw, as the Apostles taught, as the Church has received, as the Teachers express in dogma, as the inhabited world understands together with them, as grace illumines, as the truth makes clear, as error has been banished, as wisdom makes bold to declare, as Christ has assured, so we think, so we speak, so we preach, honoring Christ our true God, and his Saints, in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in icons, worshiping and revering the One as God and Lord, and honoring them because of their common Lord as those who are close to him and serve him, and making to them relative veneration. This is the faith of the Apostles; this is the faith of the Fathers; this is the faith of the Orthodox; this faith makes fast the inhabited world."
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