Behold, the Bridegroom is comes in the middle of the night; and blessed is the servant who He shall find watching. Unworthy is the servant who He shall find being lazy. Beware, O my soul, be not overcome by sleep, so that you not be handed over to death and be shut out from the Kingdom. Come to your senses and cry aloud: Holy, holy, holy are You our God. By the power of Your Cross save us.
(Hymn from Bridegroom Orthros)
Dear Beloved in Christ,
Tonight we will have the final Bridegroom Orthros service. This series of services, which span from Palm Sunday to Holy Wednesday, remind us of Christ as the Bridegroom of the Church, His bride. This imagery of marriage appears a number of times in the New Testament (as well as in the Old Testament, most notably in Hosea). It is very fitting because in marriage, the two become one, and at the heart of the marital relationship is mutual self-sacrifice.
God desires to be unified with His creation: “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, … so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. … For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” (Ephesians 2:14-18)
Furthermore this unity has been accomplished through Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself for us. The icon of the Bridegroom, which is placed in the center of the solea during these services, vividly portrays His self-sacrificial nature.
Please join us for this blessed Holy Week service!