2nd Week of Great Lent v FRIDAY Matins

The Invisible Amalek

?Stretching out Thine hands upon the cross, O Lord, Thou hast killed the
invisible Amalek and rescued thy people: therefore we sing the praises
of Thy power. Great Lent, the Second Week, Friday Matins, Ode V of the

How wonderful the matins canon is! Any canon, but especially, it seems,
those during Great Lent, interprets the Old Testament in the light of
the New. There is a profound mix of history, typology and theology in
our services, and the soul is thrilled to hear divine truths expressed
in varied ways, with examples from the Old and New testaments. 

Only in the light of our Lord's passion can we understand the actions of
Moses when his people fought the king Amalek: 

Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. (9) And Moses said
unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to-morrow
I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand. (10)
So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and
Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. (11) And it came
to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he
let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. (12) But Moses' hands were heavy;
and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and
Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the
other on the other side; And his hands were steady until the going down
of the sun. (13) And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the
edge of the sword. (Exodus 17:8-13 )

Amalek was a pagan king. He could not be defeated until Moses,
foreshadowing our Lord's passion, held up his arms in a cross. 

In the canon, we have a mystical interpretation of Amalek. He represents
sin, just as Babylon or Egypt. We all have an invisible Amalek within
us, that is, the passions. Just as Moses held out his arms to defeat the
king Amalek, our Lord held out his arms on the cross to defeat our

Rise and make war against the passions of the flesh, as Joshua did
against Amalek, and ever conquer the Gibeonites - illusive thoughts.
(Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete, Ode 6, referencing Exodus 17:8;
Joshua 8:21) 

Now as we venerate thy cross, which Moses once prefigured with his
outstretched arms, we put to flight the invisible Amalek, O Christ our
master, and so we gain salvation! (Matins Canon Ode 6 for the 3rd Sunday
of Great Lent) 

Let us take note that if the Israelites had not fought bravely, it would
not have mattered how Moses held his hands. In the same way, if we do
not live according to the way of the cross, our Lord's accomplishment is
null and void for us. 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2009.       HYPERLINK "http://www.orthodox.net/"
 St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas 



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