“He died although he cannot die; he dies although he is immortal, in his very human nature inseparably united with his Godhead. His soul, without being separated from God, is torn out of his body, while both his soul and his flesh remain united with the Godhead. He will lie in the tomb incorruptible until the third day, because his body cannot be touched by corruption. It is full of the divine presence. It is pervaded by it as a sword of iron is pervaded by fire in the furnace, and the soul of Christ descends into hell resplendent with the glory of his Godhead.
“The death of Christ is a tearing apart of an immortal body from a soul that is alive and remains alive forever. This makes the death of Christ a tragedy beyond our imagining, far beyond any suffering that we can humanly picture or experience.
“Christ’s death is an act of supreme love. It was true when he said, ‘No one takes my life from me; I give it freely myself.’ No one could kill him — the Immortal; no one could quench this Light that is the shining of the splendor of God. He gave his life, he accepted the impossible death to share with us all the tragedy of our human condition.”
–Metropolitan Anthony Bloom
I attended Matins of Holy Friday this evening; it’s a long service during which twelve Gospel readings of Christ’s passion are read, while we stand holding candles. One of the most beloved hymns of this evening is: “Today is Hung Upon the Tree.” That link is to the version that our parish choir sings, but at a somewhat more stately pace. Tonight we had plenty of men singing, and the sound was full, and appropriately worshipful.
“We worship Thy passion, O Christ.
Show us also Thy glorious Resurrection!”