The Lord’s Hands

The Israelites’, and mine … , Utter Despair and Bondage

The week before Holy Week I experienced, at the deepest core of my being, the Israelites’ impasse, their despair, helplessness and fear. My pilgrimage had come at a dead end!

The Israelites’, and mine …,  Miraculous Release from Captivity

Bright Week, that is the week immediately after Resurrection Sunday, was sealed with the Israelites’ (and mine) ineffable joy, relief, jubilation at their freedom, miraculous release from captivity and awe at God’s Works! What a reversal of fortune! What a most true Orthodox ‘Easter’, a most literal Pascha! If anybody had told me that I would live to see this, I would have told him “Impossible”! But nothing is impossible for God! Nothing! Glory to God for all things!

Prefiguration of Orthodox Easter, Pascha, the Israelites crossing the Red Sea

The Lord is my strength and my song;
    he has given me victory.
This is my God, and I will praise him—
    my father’s God, and I will exalt him!

… “Your right hand, O Lord,
    is glorious in power.
Your right hand, O Lord,
    smashes the enemy.

Prefiguration of Orthodox Easter, Pascha, Crossing of the Red Sea Bernardino Luini, c. 1481-1532

Crossing of the Red Sea
Bernardino Luini, c. 1481-1532

“Who is like you among the gods, O Lord
    glorious in holiness,
awesome in splendor,
    performing great wonders?
12 You raised your right hand,
    and the earth swallowed our enemies.

Prefiguration of Orthodox Easter, Pascha, the Israelites crossing the Red Sea

Crossing of the Red Sea
Bernardino Luini, c. 1481-1532

… The power of your arm
    makes them lifeless as stone
until your people pass by, O Lord,
    until the people you purchased pass by.
17 You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain—
    the place, O Lord, reserved for your own dwelling,
    the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hands have established. (Exodus 15, A Song of Deliverance)

Prefiguration of Orthodox Easter, Pascha, Icon of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea

God’s Hands

These two weeks I have also come to pay attention to God’s Hands!

Have a close look at the Resurrection icon and Christ’s hands! Notice how Christ is pulling Adam from the tomb by the wrist, and not the hand. Why is that so? Have you ever observed this ‘detail’? And if so, has it ever occurred to you that this ‘detail’ might be revealing?

 

Christ's resurrection, Orthodox Easter, Pascha, Christ's resurrection, Orthodox Easter, Pascha, Resurrection icon

I have to confess that this Pascha was the first time in my life that I noticed how dramatically Christ is shown in the icon pulling Adam, the first man, from the tomb. Probably because I had never felt that badly the need of Someone pulling me along, forcefully, even if roughly.

Christ's resurrection, Orthodox Easter, Pascha, Resurrection icon

In the Icon, Jesus Christ stands victoriously in the centre. Robed in Heavenly white, He is surrounded by a mandorla of star-studded light, representing the Glory of God.  Eve is to Christ’s left, hands held out in supplication, also waiting for Jesus to act. This humble surrender to Jesus is all Adam and Eve need to do, and all they are able to do. Christ does the rest, which is why He is pulling Adam from the tomb by the wrist, and not the hand.

 

Christ's resurrection, Orthodox Easter, Pascha, Resurrection icon

In all Resurrection icons I have seen since, even where Jesus is pulling both Adam and Eve from the tomb, he is always pulling them by the wrist, and never the hand.

Christ's resurrection, Orthodox Easter, Pascha, Resurrection icon

Christ's resurrection, Orthodox Easter, Pascha, Resurrection icon

 

Praised be His name, the Lord pitied me, and indeed he dragged me, hurling me across my Red Sea! Now my home will be Great Britain. Which desert is awaiting for me, what revelations, what Mount Sinai? How are the next ’40 years’ of my wanderings going to unfold? Will I ever reach the Promised Land?

So, I am moving to UK, with my spiritual father’s blessing, trying to follow the Holy Spirit there. Indeed, I try to “dwell in my own country, but simply as sojourner. As citizen, I share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigner. Every foreign land is to me as my native country, and every land of my birth as a land of strangers. …” (cf. The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus)

My Lifestyle of course will NOT change– Suitcases 😃 Lover of the Theotokos, Pilgrim, Traveller, Hermit! 
Ah! The Raptures of Living! 
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