December 4, 2012 by Orthodox Whitehorse
This past Sunday, December 2nd, the Church commemorated the Holy Prophet Habakkuk. Many of the Prophets are remembered during the time leading up to the Feast of the Nativity. As we draw near to the Birth of the Saviour, we realize that his Incarnation, his Life-giving Death and Resurrection are intimately linked.
On the evening of Great and Holy Friday, Orthodox Christian believers call to remembrance the words of a man who lived six hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ:
“Foreseeing thy divine humiliation on the Cross, Habakkuk cried out trembling: Thou didst shatter the dominion of the mighty by joining those in hell as the almighty God.”
Then, during the glorious service of Paschal Matins, when Orthodox believers jubilantly rejoice that Christ is risen, this mysterious figure from the Old Testament is again brought to mind when we sing the words:
“The inspired prophet Habakkuk now stands with us in holy vigil. He is like a shining angel who cries with a piercing voice: Today salvation has come to the world, for Christ is risen!”
Though we know very little about the Prophet Habakkuk himself, his words reveal the great mystery of God’s love for us. The eternal Word of God – Jesus Christ – humbled himself and endured the Cross for our salvation. But before that, He humbled himself to be born in a cave and lay in a manger, equally as important for our redemption. Habakkuk reminds us of this truth.
The holy prophet prayed:
“Lord, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord.
Repeat them in our day,
in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy… You came out to deliver your people,
to save your anointed one… yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.” (Habakkuk 3.2, 13, 18)
Today, as believers in Christ, we participate in these great deeds of the Lord that Habakkuk prayed for. We know that the Lord has come, in Christ, to deliver and save. In our own day, we can rejoice, for God is with us!
Your servant in Christ,