In Memoriam Don Haymes

Because truth is hard to come by.

I didn’t know Don, but he was a legendary provocateur among my tribe and therefore a hero to me. Here’s to more sheep in wolves’ clothing.

Below are his portrait of one moment in the history of Churches of Christ and an article titled “The Silence of the Scholars” that is quintessentially Don.

The Church of Christ Establishment

The Easter Sermon of John Chrysostom

John Chrysostom (d. AD 407), Archbishop of Constantinople, is widely acknowledged as one of the church’s greatest preachers.[1. See https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-John-Chrysostom, https://www.theopedia.com/john-chrysostom, https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/people/pastorsandpreachers/john-chrysostom.html] Among Eastern Orthodox churches and various other Christian traditions, this sermon is traditionally read on Easter morning.[2. This translation is from the Fordham University Internet Medieval Source Book. See also Orthodox, Anglican, Reformed, and Wesleyan-Holiness usages.]


Is there anyone who is a devout lover of God?
Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival!
Is there anyone who is a grateful servant?
Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!

Are there any weary with fasting? 
Let them now receive their wages!
If any have toiled from the first hour, 
let them receive their due reward;
If any have come after the third hour, 
let him with gratitude join in the Feast!
And he that arrived after the sixth hour, 
let him not doubt; for he too shall sustain no loss.
And if any delayed until the ninth hour, 
let him not hesitate; but let him come too.
And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour, 
let him not be afraid by reason of his delay.

For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first.
He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, 
as well as to him that toiled from the first.
To this one He gives, and upon another He bestows.
He accepts the works as He greets the endeavor.
The deed He honors and the intention He commends.

Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord! 
First and last alike receive your reward; 
rich and poor, rejoice together!
Sober and slothful, celebrate the day!

You that have kept the fast, and you that have not, 
rejoice today for the Table is richly laden!
Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one.
Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith.
Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!

Let no one grieve at his poverty, 
for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; 
for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.

He destroyed Hades when He descended into it.
He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh.
Isaiah foretold this when he said,
“You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below.”

Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with.
It was in an uproar because it is mocked.
It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed.
It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated.
It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive.
Hell took a body, and discovered God. 
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.
O death, where is thy sting?
O Hades, where is thy victory?

Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!
Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead;
for Christ having risen from the dead,
is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!


Notes

Irenaeus, On the Apostolic Preaching 33–34

For Good Friday

[From St. Irenaeus of Lyons, On the Apostolic Preaching, Popular Patristics Series 17, trans. John Behr (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1997).]

And the transgression which occurred through the tree was undone by the obedience of the tree—which [was shown when] the Son of Man, obeying God, was nailed to the tree, destroying the knowledge of evil, and introducing and providing the knowledge of good: and evil is to disobey God, just as to obey God is good. And this is why the Word says by the prophet Isaias, foretelling the thing<s> that would come to pass—for this reason were they prophets: because they related things to come—so, in this way the Word says by him that, “I am not disobedient and do not contradict; I placed my back to the scourging, and <my> cheeks to the blows, and my face I did not turn from the shame of [the] spittle.” So, by means of the obedience by which He obeyed unto death, hanging upon the tree, He undid the old disobedience occasioned by the tree.

And since He is the Word of God Almighty, who invisibly pervades <…> the whole creation, and encompasses (συνέχω) its length, breadth, height and depth—for by the Word of God everything is administered—so too was the Son of God crucified in these [fourfold dimensions], having been imprinted in the form of the cross in everything; for it <was> necessary for Him, becoming visible, to make manifest His <form of the cross> <in> everything, that He might demonstrate, by His visible form [on the cross], His activity which is on the <in>visible [level], for it is He who illumines the ‘heights’, that is, the things in heaven, and holds the ‘deeps’, which is beneath the earth, and stretches the ‘length’ from the East to the West, and who navigates the ‘breadth’ <of> the northern and southern regions, inviting the dispersed from all sides to the knowledge of the Father.

Athanasius, On the Incarnation 24

For Thursday of Holy Week

[From Athanasius the Great of Alexandria, On the Incarnation, Greek Original and English Translation, Popular Patristics Series 44a, trans. John Behr (Yonkers, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2011.]

. . . The Life of all, our Lord and Savior Christ, did not contrive death for his own body, lest he should appear fearful of some other death, but he accepted and endured on the cross that inflicted by others, especially by enemies, which they reckoned fearful and ignominious and shameful, in order that this being destroyed, he might himself be believed to be Life, and the power of death might be completely annihilated. So Something wonderful and marvelous happened: that ignominious death which they thought to inflict, this was the trophy of his victory over death. . . .

Athanasius, On the Incarnation 19

For Wednesday of Holy Week

[From Athanasius the Great of Alexandria, On the Incarnation, Greek Original and English Translation, Popular Patristics Series 44a, trans. John Behr (Yonkers, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2011.]

It seemed good to the Savior to do all these things, so that, since human beings did not know his providence in all things nor understand his divinity through his creation, if they looked up on account of his works done through the body they might gain a notion through him of the knowledge of the Father, understanding by analogy, as I said before, his providence over all from that regarding the parts. For who seeing his authority against demons, or who seeing the demons confessing that he is himself their Lord, would still have any doubt in mind whether this one is the Son and the Wisdom and Power of God? For neither did he make creation itself be silent, but what is most wonderful, even at his death, or rather at the very trophy over death, I mean the cross, all creation confessed that he who was made known and suffered in the body was not simply a human being but Son of God and Savior of all. For the sun turned back and the earth shook and the mountains were rent, and all were awed. These things showed the Christ on the cross to be God and the whole of creation to be his servant, witnessing in fear the advent [parousia] of the Master. In this way, then, the God Word showed himself to human beings by his works. . . .

Methodius, Fragment 2 of the Homily on the Cross and Passion of Christ

For Tuesday of Holy Week

The Same Methodius to Those Who are Ashamed of the Cross of Christ

Some think that God also, whom they measure with the measure of their own feelings, judges the same thing that wicked and foolish men judge to be subjects of praise and blame, and that He uses the opinions of men as His rule and measure, not taking into account the fact that, by reason of the ignorance that is in them, every creature falls short of the beauty of God. For He draws all things to life by His Word, from their universal substance and nature. For whether He would have good, He Himself is the Very Good, and remains in Himself; or, whether the beautiful is pleasing to Him, since He Himself is the Only Beautiful, He beholds Himself, holding in no estimation the things which move the admiration of men. That, verily, is to be accounted as in reality the most beautiful and praiseworthy, which God Himself esteems to be beautiful, even though it be contemned and despised by all else — not that which men fancy to be beautiful. Whence it is, that although by this figure He has willed to deliver the soul from corrupt affections, to the signal putting to shame of the demons, we ought to receive it, and not to speak evil of it, as being that which was given us to deliver us, and set us free from the chains which for our disobedience we incurred. For the Word suffered, being in the flesh affixed to the cross, that He might bring man, who had been deceived by error, to His supreme and godlike majesty, restoring him to that divine life from which he had become alienated. By this figure, in truth, the passions are blunted; the passion of the passions having taken place by the Passion, and the death of death by the death of Christ, He not having been subdued by death, nor overcome by the pains of the Passion. For neither did the Passion cast Him down from His equanimity, nor did death hurt Him, but He was in the passible remaining impassible, and in the mortal remaining immortal, comprehending all that the air, and this middle state, and the heaven above contained, and attempering the mortal to the immortal divinity. Death was vanquished entirely; the flesh being crucified to draw forth its immortality.

Methodius, Fragment 1 of the Homily on the Cross and Passion of Christ

For Monday of Holy Week

Methodius, Bishop, to those who say: What does it profit us that the Son of God was crucified upon earth, and made man? And wherefore did He endure to suffer in the manner of the cross, and not by some other punishment? And what was the advantage of the cross?

Christ, the Son of God, by the command of the Father, became conversant with the visible creature, in order that, by overturning the dominion of the tyrants, the demons, that is, He might deliver our souls from their dreadful bondage, by reason of which our whole nature, intoxicated by the draughts of iniquity, had become full of tumult and disorder, and could by no means return to the remembrance of good and useful things. Wherefore, also, it was the more easily carried away to idols, inasmuch as evil had overwhelmed it entirely, and had spread over all generations, on account of the change which had come over our fleshy tabernacles in consequence of disobedience; until Christ, the Lord, by the flesh in which He lived and appeared, weakened the force of Pleasure’s onslaughts, by means of which the infernal powers that were in arms against us reduced our minds to slavery, and freed mankind from all their evils. For with this end the Lord Jesus both wore our flesh, and became man, and by the divine dispensation was nailed to the cross; in order that by the flesh in which the demons had proudly and falsely feigned themselves gods, having carried our souls captive unto death by deceitful wiles, even by this they might be overturned, and discovered to be no gods. For he prevented their arrogance from raising itself higher, by becoming man; in order that by the body in which the race possessed of reason had become estranged from the worship of the true God, and had suffered injury, even by the same receiving into itself in an ineffable manner the Word of Wisdom, the enemy might be discovered to be the destroyers and not the benefactors of our souls.

For it had not been wonderful if Christ, by the terror of His divinity, and the greatness of His invincible power, had reduced to weakness the adverse nature of the demons. But since this was to cause them greater grief and torment, for they would have preferred to be overcome by one stronger than themselves, therefore it was that by a man He procured the safety of the race; in order that men, after that very Life and Truth had entered into them in bodily form, might be able to return to the form and light of the Word, overcoming the power of the enticements of sin; and that the demons, being conquered by one weaker than they, and thus brought into contempt, might desist from their over-bold confidence, their hellish wrath being repressed. It was for this mainly that the cross was brought in, being erected as a trophy against iniquity, and a deterrent from it, that henceforth man might be no longer subject to wrath, after that he had made up for the defeat which, by his disobedience, be had received, and had lawfully conquered the infernal powers, and by the gift of God had been set free from every debt. Since, therefore, the first-born Word of God thus fortified the manhood in which He tabernacled with the armour of righteousness, He overcame, as has been said, the powers that enslaved us by the figure of the cross, and showed forth man, who had been oppressed by corruption, as by a tyrant power, to be free, with unfettered hands. For the cross, if you wish to define it, is the confirmation of the victory, the way by which God to man descended, the trophy against material spirits, the repulsion of death, the foundation of the ascent to the true day; and the ladder for those who are hastening to enjoy the light that is there, the engine by which those who are fitted for the edifice of the Church are raised up from below, like a stone four square, to be compacted on to the divine Word. Hence it is that our kings, perceiving that the figure of the cross is used for the dissipating of every evil, have made vexillas, as they are called in the Latin language. Hence the sea, yielding to this figure, makes itself navigable to men. For every creature, so to speak, has, for the sake of liberty, been marked with this sign; for the birds which fly aloft, form the figure of the cross by the expansion of their wings; and man himself, also, with his hands outstretched, represents the same. Hence, when the Lord had fashioned him in this form, in which He had from the beginning flamed him, He joined on his body to the Deity, in order that it might be henceforth an instrument consecrated to God, freed from all discord and want of harmony. For man cannot, after that he has been formed for the worship of God, and has sung, as it were, the incorruptible song of truth, and by this has been made capable of holding the Deity, being fitted to the lyre of life as the chords and strings, he cannot, I say, return to discord and corruption.

Theophilus of Alexandria, Homily on the Crucifixion and the Good Thief (Excerpt 3)

For Thursday of Lent Week 5

[From Norman Russell, Theophilus of Alexandria, The Early Fathers of the Church (New York: Routledge, 2007).]

Do you want to know the truth? Listen, I will tell you it. I will say to you again that while they do all these things to him, he turned his eyes towards heaven and prayed to his Father, saying, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’ (Lk. 23:34). At the same time you should be aware that God the Father determines at what hour to send down on them his irrevocable anger, even as the voice of his Only-begotten ascends to him, beseeching him to put aside the indignation of his anger.

He sent a powerful angel and rent the curtain of the temple from top to bottom, tearing it into two. The earth shook, the rocks were split, the sun, that great source of light, was obscured and darkness filled the world to cover his sacred body on the cross, for it was stripped of his clothing which they had divided (cf. Mt. 27:45, 51; Lk. 23:44–5).

Ponder, then, my beloved, and reflect on God’s mercy towards the world. He who had clothed the whole of creation was despoiled of his own clothing. He was left naked on the wood of the cross. But the sun, that wise minister, covered its Lord with darkness, which endured until the eyes of those atheists were dimmed, so that they should not see the great mystery that lay on the wood of the cross, for they are not worthy of it

For he who was worthy of contemplating it at that hour saw the accomplishment of the mystery of his divinity. Who was ever worthy of this great glory at that hour?

Let us examine this. The Father contemplates it from heaven. The thief, too, after ascending to the height of the cross, contemplates all the things that had taken place, and rejoices and exults to see them. Who has ever seen them? The host of angels surrounds the cross and praises him with hymns. The Father looks down from heaven, giving glory to his Only-begotten. All the air is in motion because the body of the Creator is suspended on high. All the earth rejoices because the blood of its king is sprinkled upon it.

Theophilus of Alexandria, Homily on the Crucifixion and the Good Thief (Excerpt 2)

For Wednesday of Lent Week 5

[From Norman Russell, Theophilus of Alexandria, The Early Fathers of the Church (New York: Routledge, 2007).]

Consider and contemplate God’s mercy and great patience. He looks down from on high and sees his only-begotten Son nailed to the wood, and is longsuffering in his great bounty. For him, then, they still pierce our Lord Jesus Christ’s holy hands with nails, they still slap his face, they still beat his head with fists, they still give him vinegar mixed with gall to drink, they still divide his garments by lot, and they still break a cane on his head. And in spite of all these things, he does not grow angry, nor has he any rancour in his heart against them.

Do you want to know the truth? I will not tell you; listen to him. After all these things he cried out, saying, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’ (Lk. 23:34). Do you realize how great is the Father’s mercy towards us, and that of his Son, who mounted on the cross for the salvation of the entire created world? For the moment he was hung on the cross, he purified the whole of creation, the things of heaven and the things below. His divine body, then, hanging on the cross made the whole air clean and pure. With the shedding of his sacred blood, the whole earth was equally purified of its contamination. Moreover, his divinity descended into Hades, despoiled it, and released the souls shut up in darkness, setting them free. For this is what he promised us with his mouth of truth, which in all eternity has never uttered any falsehood.

‘If they exalt me on earth, I will draw them to me’ (cf. Mt. 10:32). In another place it says, ‘I will draw them to me with the chains of my love’ (cf. Jn 12:32). What great love, then, is equal to this, which makes him mount up on the wood of the cross and surrenders him voluntarily to imprisonment? For if it was not of his own free will, who would have been able to seize him? For who could ever have seized God, the Creator?

Theophilus of Alexandria, Homily on the Crucifixion and the Good Thief (Excerpt 1)

For Tuesday of Lent Week 5

[From Norman Russell, Theophilus of Alexandria, The Early Fathers of the Church (New York: Routledge, 2007).]

In spite of all these things accomplished by him in their presence, they did not give him credence, but seized him and delivered him to be crucified. Having brought him into the court of the High Priest, they treated him with contempt rather than honour. Then the word of Scripture was fulfilled: ‘They brought evils upon me instead of blessings, and hatred instead of my love’ (Ps. 109 [108]:5).

What, then, are the evils which the people he created, the people who killed him, did to him? They are terrible to describe or to hear. My tongue trembles, my eye weeps, my spirit groans, my soul is distressed to utter them. It is God that they have seized, the Lord that they have bound, the king of glory that they have crucified. Jesus Christ is the one that they have bound. They have pierced with nails the hands of him who created them. They slapped the face of their Lord. They beat his head with their fists. They placed a crown of thorns on his head. They dressed him in a purple cloak. They gave him vinegar and gall. On this day they did all these things to him. They crucified with him two thieves. One of them, who was unworthy of the vision of his divinity, said to the Lord, deriding him: ‘If you are the Christ, save yourself and us’ (Lk. 23:39). The other replied, rebuking him with indignation: ‘“Do you not fear God? We are receiving the due reward of our sins which we have committed, but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him with great joy, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise”’ (cf. Lk. 23:40–3).

‘The gate of Paradise has been closed since the time when Adam transgressed, but I will open it today, and receive you in it. Because you have recognized the nobility of my head on the cross, you who have shared with me in the suffering of the cross will be my companion in the joy of my kingdom. You have glorified me in the presence of carnal men, in the presence of sinners. I will therefore glorify you in the presence of the angels. You were fixed with me on the cross, and you united yourself with me of your own free will. I will therefore love you, and my Father will love you, and the angels will serve you with my holy food. If you used once to be a companion of murderers, behold, I who am the life of all have now made you a companion with me. You used once to walk in the night with the sons of darkness; behold, I who am the light of the whole world have now made you walk with me. You used once to take counsel with murderers; behold, I who am the Creator have made you a companion with me.

‘All these things I will pardon you because you have confessed my divinity in the presence of those who have denied me. For they saw all the signs which I performed, but did not believe in me. You, then, a rapacious robber, a murderer, a brigand, a swindler, a plunderer have confessed that I am God. That is why I have pardoned your many sins, because you have loved much (cf. Lk. 7:47). I will make you a citizen of Paradise. I will wash your body so that it will not see corruption before I resurrect it with me on the third day and take you up with me.