October 29, 2013

Psalm 24

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in.
Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in.
Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory.
(Psalm 24:7-10)

The King of Glory

King of Glory

In Handel’s Messiah this comes in the section on the Ascension, and points to the Lord entering the gates of heaven following His defeat of death through His cross, burial, and resurrection. The world’s idea of “glory” is very far from the Christian understanding. Nothing underlines this more than the inscription found on many Orthodox crosses and icons of the crucifixion: “The King of Glory.” Glory….the crucified Jesus. What an incredible contrast, that makes a mockery of the world’s values! Who is the King of Glory? We answer, He is the crucified Jesus, who was “despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). And being God, it is precisely His willingness to go through the Cross as a weak, fragile, broken human being that redeems every human cross, every human suffering and every death.

Gregory Sulich: memory eternal!

Many clergy and laity have come to Saint Tikhon’s Monastery for the funeral today of Gregory Sulich, at which Metropolitan Tikhon will preside (as he did last night for the memorial service.) Greg reposed in the Lord last Thursday in the ICU at the hospital in Danville, PA. For the last ninety minutes of his life I had the privilege of being there with him, Matushka Dorothy, Bishop Mark, Father Gabriel (Nicholas), Father Daniel Kovalak and his longtime friend Thomas Donlick. Greg was critically ill and did not recover consciousness, but we took turns reading the psalms as the medical staff worked around him and us. So many of the psalms speak of enemies, and as we read never did I sense more acutely that the last enemy to be defeated is death. A few moments after he breathed his last we sang the first memorial service by his bedside as a proclamation of victory in the midst of apparent defeat.

O God of Spirits, and of all flesh, Who has trampled down death and overthrown the Devil and given life to Thy world: do Thou, the same Lord, give rest to the soul of Thy departed servant Gregory in a place of brightness, a place of refreshment, a place of repose, where all sickness, sorrow and sighing have fled away. Pardon every transgression which he has committed, whether by word or deed or thought.

For Thou art a good God who loves mankind; because there there is no man who lives and does not sin; for Thou only art without sin, and Thy righteousness is to all eternity, and Thy is true.

For Thou art the Resurrection, and the Life, and the repose of Thy servant Gregory who is fallen asleep, O Christ our God, and unto Thee do we ascribe glory, together with Thy Father, who is from everlasting, and Thine all-holy and good, and life-creating Spirit: now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.