Rise: The Great Fifty Days 4

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O mystifying murder!  O mystifying injustice!

The master is obscured by his body exposed,

and is not held worthy of a veil to shield him from view.

For this reason the great lights turned away,

and the day was turned to darkness;

to hid the one denuded on the tree,

obscuring not the body of the Lord but human eyes.

 

For when the people did not tremble, the earth shook.

When the people did not fear, the heavens were afraid.

When the people did not rend their garments, the angel rent his own.

When the people did not lament, the Lord thundered from heaven,

and the most high gave voice.

 

The excerpt above, taken from On Pascha and considered to be the earliest Christian sermon that has survived from antiquity, was written in 167/168 by Melito, bishop of Sardis, who was a prominent figure of second-century Christianity. A leader of the Church in Asia, Melito, according to Hippolytus, was among the earliest proponants of the two natures in Christ, and Jerome echoes Tertullian in noting that Melito was considered a prophet by many in his own day.

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