Passion Friday Meditations

The three Madrashe for Passion Friday are independent pieces of hymnody, but follow a general thread. The first picks up on Christ’s command to Peter, James, and John to stay awake with him in the garden. Recounting the dramatic events of Christ’s passion, each verse ends with the question, “who can go to sleep?”

The second Madrasha keeps the theme of wakefulness, but refers not to the passage of the garden of Gethsemane, but rather to the strange passage in Matthew 27 describing some of the dead in Jerusalem rising from the graves. The hymn addresses many of the prophets, telling them to awake from the sleep of death and see Christ who fulfilled their prophecies.

The third hymn is emotionally and musically the most dramatic, following Peter’s thoughts after he betrays and denies Christ. The text should speak for itself. A recording can be found here:

Madrasha 1
- Awake, O vigilant, and sing praise with your voices: the Lion’s Cub is imprisoned; who can go to sleep?
* The Father chose, in his love, to send his Son into the world, and the wicked crucified him; who can go to sleep?
* They judged him and condemned him; they imprisoned him and struck him; they took a reed and beat him; who can go to sleep?
* They drenched his face with spit, and a slave struck him on the jaw, and as he spoke, they condemned him; who can go to sleep?
* Like rabid dogs, they assaulted the Lion to kill him, and he stood silent like a guilty man; who can go to sleep?
* They fastened a crown of thorns, and placed it on the Possessor of Crowns; they inflicted him with all mockeries; who can go to sleep?
* They pushed the all-radiant Sun into darkness, and slammed the doors shut in his face; who can go to sleep?
Madrasha 2
- Awake, O just, and see the suffering that I endure for your salvation; awake!
* Awake, O Abraham, see and rejoice, for the mystery that you signified by the death of Isaac has been fulfilled; awake!
* Awake, O Moses, and see the Son who is brought to suffering due to your people; awake!
* Awake, O David, take your harp and sing before us: "lo, the free man among the dead;" awake!
* Awake, O son of Amos, and come out of your grave, and see Emmanuel on the cross; awake!
* Awake, O Jonah, and come out of the fish; see that the mystery you signified in the depths is fulfilled; awake!
* Awake, O Daniel, come out of the cave, and see that the prophecy you prophesied is fulfilled; awake!
Madrasha 3
- Have pity on me, Pitying One; have pity on me, Merciful One.
* Brethren, I look into the Scriptures and I am filled with sadness: when our Savior was suffering, Kepa wept in agony (firstly, because they had crucified his Master, but also because he had denied him), as he cried out in anguish: “My toil has gone in vain, for I have denied my Lord!”
* “Woe is me!” he cried in the foyer of the house of Caiaphas, “for I have become a stranger to the Son whom I denied. He named me Rock, and I have become dust; but he shall not build his Church on dust! I have despised my very self!”
* “He called me ‘blessed’ when it was revealed by his Father, and I told him ‘you are the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One.’ To whom can I plead to intercede with his Father? For he will certainly not accept me unless I am with his Son. I am at fault forever!”

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