Paschal Greetings

“It is the day of Resurrection, let us be radiant, O ye peoples; Pascha the Pascha of the Lord; for Christ God hath brought us from death to life, and from earth to heaven, as we sing the triumphal hymn.”

Dear brothers and sisters, Christ is Risen! Христосъ воскресе! Hristos a înviat! Χριστός ἀνέστη!

Having celebrated the radiant night of Pascha, our labour is now to preserve the grace and joy of the feast, with the Resurrection as the centre of our lives, and our inheritance through Holy Baptism.

As Christians, we are children of the Light and of the Resurrection, no matter how dark and threatening the world is.

In fact, the darker the world and life, the brighter the Light of Christ may shine in the darkness of suffering, pain, confusion and every trial that humanity faces, but for that to happen, our focus must be on Christ, the Light of the World, not on the deepening darkness. 

How perverse it is that we are often so focussed on the darkness that we turn our faces away from the Risen Lord, our Light and Life.

The Saviour was arrested in the darkness of the garden of Gethsemane and was brought to Pilate by night. The world was plunged into darkness in the moment of His death on Golgotha, and His body rested in darkness of the tomb… yet all of this was but a brief moment before the radiant glory of the Resurrection, and even as the world was in darkness the Saviour, “the Light that knows no evening”, descended into the realm of death and harrowed Hades, bringing light and life to the righteous of the Old Covenant, raising them in His own Rising.

We must not fear darkness: the darkness of illness, of death, of wars and revolutions, of insecurity, of anxiety, of the degenerate darkening “progress” of the world… for Christ has overcome darkness, even entered the depths of sheol, trampling down death by death, bringing light, life and hope, and above all the promise given to the repentant thief upon the cross, “Truly, I say to you. Today, you will be with me in paradise.” 

The world is the world – fallen and still falling in its rebellion and lawlessness – yet, within it the faithful walk in the Light of Christ, sharing it with those in darkness and offering hope, but ultimately that hope is not in an earthly utopia, but in the fullness of the resurrectional life the Kingdom of God in the age to come.

This joyful celebration of the Lord’s Pascha is the sign and foretaste of this future life of the Eighth Day in the midst of our fragile and temporary earthly sojourn, whose meaning is to be found in the journey of St Dismas from the cross on the Saviour’s right hand to His right side in the Heavenly Kingdom.

This journey is one of repentance, (and enduring pain and darkness) and faith, with Christ as it’s meaning and His Resurrection as it’s calling and promise.

Let us now keep the feast with gladness, guarding its holiness and joy like a candle lit from the Holy Fire at the Lord’s Sepulchre, sharing the Eternal Joy and hope in the words of the angel at the sepulchre – “He is not here. He is risen!” – and no matter how frightening and dark the world and life becomes, remember the Saviour’s first words to the disciples, “Peace be with you all!”

This peace is not the world’s peace, but the peace from above, which may abide in our lives, no matter how troubled or painful they are, precisely because Christ has already gained the victory, despoiling hell and death and is truly risen!

“O great and most sacred Pascha, Christ! O Wisdom and Word of God and Power! Grant us more perfectly to partake of Thee, in the unwaning day of Thy kingdom.” 

Posted in Homily/Sermon, Pastoral.