by Rev. Rich Heinz

For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:7b-8 ESV)

Thirty-four years ago, the Rev. Dr. Martin Franzmann pondered these words from the historic Epistle for the Resurrection of Our Lord. As the Lord blessed his imagination, talent, and eloquence, Dr. Franzmann’s pen issued forth a text with beauty and strength – one that begets many “Alleluias” and “Amens!”

Our Paschal Lamb, that sets us free,
Is sacrificed. O keep
The feast of freedom gallantly;
Let alleluias leap:
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Again
Sing alleluia, cry aloud: Alleluia! Amen!

Jesus Christ is the true and great Paschal Lamb. All Passover lambs had always anticipated THE Lamb. The innocent shedding of blood and the body given to eat in celebration of the Lord’s deliverance had pointed forward for some 1,470 years, to the great events of our Savior’s death and resurrection.

As Saint Paul wrote God’s Word to the church at Corinth, the Lord’s Pascha (Easter) had been celebrated 25 years or so. The Church is jubilant as we recall and commemorate Jesus’ innocent suffering and death as our once-and-for-all sacrifice – and His triumphant resurrection.

Our festival is gallant – fearless – as we look death straight in the eye and declare: “You have no power over me! Christ died in my place. Now He is risen! You will not prevail!” And a host of “alleluias” stream from our mouths, concluded as only they can be, with the great “Amen!” of faith from Christ. Gift given. Gift received. Yes. Yes. It shall be so!

Let all our lives now celebrate
The feast; let malice die.
Let love grow strong anew, and great,
Let truth stamp out the lie.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Again
Sing alleluia, cry aloud: Alleluia! Amen!

Living out the faith God gives, our entire lives now rejoice in our Risen Savior. Hatred and strife pass away, as they are defeated by Him who is the Truth. He stamps out the lies of sin and death, spewed by Satan. Again, the response of the baptized cannot help but be “Alleluia!” and “Amen!”

Let all our deeds, unanimous,
Confess Him as our Lord
Who by the Spirit lives in us,
The Father’s living Word.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Again
Sing alleluia, cry aloud: Alleluia! Amen!

Now we, along with the whole Church on earth, together “with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven, …laud and magnify” the Lord. We confess what the Triune God has given us to confess: that the Word became flesh, and dwelt as the Lamb of God among us. That He suffered and died as the Paschal Sacrifice, is now risen from the dead, and lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true! (Amen!)

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