From the light of Holy Thursday we enter into the darkness of Friday, the day of Christ’s Passion, Death and Burial. In the early Church this day was called ‘Pascha of the Cross,’ for it is indeed the beginning of that Passover or Passage whose whole meaning will be gradually revealed to us, first, in the wonderful quiet of the Great and Blessed Sabbath, and, then, in the joy of the Resurrection day.
Today He who hung the earth upon the waters is hung on a tree.
The King of the Angels is decked with a crown of thorns.
He who wraps the heavens in clouds is wrapped in the purple mockery.
He who freed Adam in the Jordan is slapped in the face.
The Bridegroom of the Church is affixed to the cross with nails.
The Son of the Virgin is pierced by a spear.
We worship Thy passion, O Christ.
Show us also Thy glorious resurrection.
He who clothes Himself with light as with a garment stood naked for trial.
He was struck on the cheek by hands that He himself had formed.
A people that transgressed the law.
Nailed the Lord of Glory to the cross.
Then the curtain of the temple was torn in two.
Then the sun was darkened,
Unable to bear the sight of God outraged,
Before Whom all things tremble.
Let us worship Him.
The disciples denied Him,
But the thief cried out:
“Remember me, O Lord, In Thy Kingdom!”
Today He who hung the earth upon the waters is hung on a tree. The King of the Angles is decked with a crown of thorns. He who wraps the heavens in clouds is wrapped in the purple mockery. He who freed Adam in the Jordan is slapped in the face. The Bridegroom of the Church is affixed to the cross with nails.
The Wise Thief
When Christ was crucified, there were two thieves crucified with Him, to the left and right of Him. One launched into a tirade of insults, asking Christ to prove He was the Messiah by saving Himself and them. The other thief, however, realizing what was going on, defended Christ, admitting his sin and accepting his earthly judgment. Then, turning to Christ, he asked Jesus to remember him when He entered into His kingdom. Jesus replied, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
This hymn, sung after the 8th Gospel during the Passion Gospels on Holy Thursday, remembers the wise thief who confessed and repented and entered into Paradise with Christ.
“The Wise Thief didst Thou make worthy of Paradise, in a single moment, O Lord.
By the wood of thy Cross illumine me as well, and save me.”