Orpheus and Lyra

Vega is the brightest star in the northern constellation of Lyra, one of those notable lights in our night sky. Lyra represents the lyre of Orpheus, a character from Greek mythology. A lyre is not unlike a harp, and his playing thereof was said to be so beautiful, that even the trees and rocks were brought to life by its allure. Isaiah 55:12 prophesies of God’s redeemed people:

For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

As the sons of God are revealed, an expectant and groaning creation excitedly waits. The whole natural order will rejoice at Christ's salvation and those who will receive it. 

If many gospel truths are foreshadowed and anticipated in the classical myths and their stellar memorials, they also exude a helpless tragedy by way of contrast. Orpheus married the beautiful nymph Eurydice, who was unfortunately bitten by a snake and died. Orpheus went to the very underworld to rescue her, pleading with Hades, lord of the dead. That morose god was charmed by his lyre’s sweetness, and he agreed to release poor Eurydice, on the condition that Orpheus never looked back. As the couple approached the opening and Orpheus saw once more the sun, he turned to glance at his beloved to share his joy- but alas, he broke his bargain, and she disappeared, trapped forever in Hades’ dark realm. For the rest of his life, Orpheus wandered the earth, sad and alone, refusing all offers of marriage, till he himself was killed. The Greeks certainly knew how to write tragedy; the Jews, in contrast, certainly knew of future victory:

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;

My flesh also will rest in hope.

For You will not leave my soul in Sheol [‘hades’, in the Septuagint],

Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

You will show me the path of life;

In Your presence is fullness of joy;

At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:9-11 (NKJV)

The Lord Jesus rescued countless prisoners from hades between His death and resurrection, having set His face like a flint, never looking back, nor taking an easy short cut back to His heavenly glory. Orpheus was a loving husband but a poor saviour. Christ is a most excellent Saviour, and a most glorious Husband to His beloved Church.

Top Image by Aquilatin from Pixabay 

Second Image: Pithecanthropus4152, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons