Christ is Risen! Χριστὸς ἀνέστη!

Perhaps I speak for many of us, but the joy of this year’s Holy Week and Pascha was something indescribable. While we may attribute it to many external factors, or maybe being affected by the difficulties of events over the past couple of years, the truth is, the joy and splendor of Pascha is always renewing, like we experience it for the very first time, every time. How can this be? We know what is to come. We’ve encountered these hymns, these services, these experiences before. Yet when we hear that news, that life-changing, world-altering proclamation that CHRIST IS RISEN, it is always like new again.

There is good reason for this, and it is not about nostalgia or emotional connectivity. Our experiences through Holy Week and Pascha, and really this is true for all our life in the Church, are not merely historical remembrances, commemorations, or honorifics of something that happened in the past. When we immerse ourselves in the life of the Church as truly the Body of Christ, we are brought into the ontological reality of these Feasts. On Holy Thursday evening, we don’t just read the 12 Passion Gospels and say “these are the things that happened back then.” No, we are there at Golgotha, witnessing the Godman take on suffering, crucifixion, and death, especially as we sing “TODAY, He who hung the earth amidst the waters, is hung upon a tree.” In other words, when we experience Pascha, we are experiencing Christ Resurrect-ING, here and now. In proclaiming Christ IS Risen, we aren’t saying He HAS Risen, as if it happened only some time ago, and we are just remembering that. No, He IS Risen! We are part of that Resurrection, of that joy, of that amazing and perhaps fear-inducing news that the angel tells the Myrrh-bearing women at the empty tomb: He is Risen!

The never-fading light that we receive at Pascha is not merely a souvenir that the Church gives us by coming to the Resurrection service, nor is it anything magical. The light that we receive is the light of Christ, and it is meant to be the light of our whole life, to receive that light into our hearts and our homes, not just in celebration of the Resurrection, but to always be a light to “shine before all people, so that they may see your good works glorify your Father who is in Heaven!” For it is the light of Christ which illumines ALL!

Truly, the Lord is Risen! Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη ὁ Κύριος!