The Seventh Eothinon of Pascha
“Behold, it is early and still dark. And why, O Mary, are you standing outside at the tomb, with much darkness covering your mind, such that you seek where Jesus has been laid? But see, how the Disciples, who ran together, understood the resurrection from the linen cloths and the napkin, and then remembered the scripture concerning this. With them and through them, we also have believed, and we extol You, Christ the Giver of life.”
Τὸ Ζʹ Ἑωθινόν Ἦχος βαρύς (Grave Mode)
«Ιδοὺ σκοτία καὶ πρωΐ, καὶ τί πρὸς τὸ μνημεῖον Μαρία ἕστηκας, πολὺ σκότος ἔχουσα ταῖς φρεσίν; ὑφ’ οὗ ποῦ τέθειται ζητεῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς. Ἀλλ’ ὅρα τοὺς συντρέχοντας Μαθητάς, πῶς τοῖς ὀθονίοις καὶ τῷ σουδαρίῳ, τὴν Ἀνάστασιν ἐτεκμήραντο, καὶ ἀνεμνήσθησαν τῆς περὶ τούτου Γραφῆς. Μεθ’ ὧν, καὶ δι’ ὧν καὶ ἡμεῖς, πιστεύσαντες, ἀνυμνοῦμέν σε τὸν ζωοδότην Χριστόν.»
The hymn commences with « Ἰδοὺ», which commands us to “behold.” God’s message is always within reach, but sometimes we just need to be willing to see it and to accept it within us.
We behold Mary Magdalene standing at the tomb of Jesus, who is not there, and “much darkness [is] covering” her mind. This does not to suggest that Mary was spiritually dark! On the contrary, her extraordinary devotion and faith was so strong that she got up to visit Jesus when it was “still dark.”
It was when she did not find Jesus that “much darkness” came over her and she wondered what had happened. She showed her human anxiety, which is shared by all of us.
How often when life events do not go as we thought they would, do we lose trust in Jesus? Without Jesus, “it is dark.” When we understand Jesus’s word (the Scripture), and trust Him, we are no longer in a spiritually dark and worried state.
Why did Jesus fold the napkin and neatly fold the linen burial clothes? To show that His body was not taken by thieves, as they would not have had the time to fold the clothes that would have been stuck to His skin (because of the myrrh). Thus, when Peter and John entered the tomb they immediately understood that Jesus was living, and that His Resurrection is real.
Our Merciful Lord gives us “linen cloths” and a “napkin,” being the signs that prove he is alive and with us. It is our challenge to “behold” them.
Source: Lychnos April-May 2020