As Orthodox Christians we spent ten weeks preparing our souls for the Feast of Feasts we call Pascha, the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Week after week the Church asked us to consider a life of repentance, a life of prayer, a life of forgiveness, a life of sacrifice, a life of constant preparation to encounter Christ. Week after week, the Church invited us to rededicate our lives not only to thinking about Christ, but to living united to Him in communion with Him.
All that preparation culminated in the glorious celebration just a couple weeks ago when I dare say thousands of people gathered here to light our candles and sing Christ is Risen - Χριστός Ανέστη! After ten weeks of intense prayer and fasting, we were finally able to celebrate. We were exhausted, but we celebrated. Now what….?
By now many of us have already stopped saying Christ is Risen, as if Pascha is over. Pascha is never really over. In fact the Church is STILL celebrating Pascha every day. In our daily services (yes, we still have daily services) we sing Christ is Risen holding our candles shining with the Light of Christ. Unfortunately many of us live as if Pascha was May 2nd and then we moved on, returning to our everyday lives, but there is so much more to celebrate because the resurrection didn't “just happen” once and we move on. It changed our lives forever!
When Christ raised from the dead, in that one split second, the universe changed. We no longer have to live without hope for a better future. We no longer have to suffer without an end in sight. We no longer have to limit our vision merely to what is in front of us. As Orthodox Christians we were united at our Baptism and Chrismation to the LIVING Christ because of His Glorious Resurrection. As Orthodox Christian we were given the gift of hope that never has to end, even when our body returns to the earth. As Orthodox Christians, because of the resurrection, our hearts can shine light in darkness, as our candles lit our way back to our homes in the middle of the night.
My brothers and sisters. We didn’t just celebrate Pascha on May 2nd. We are STILL celebrating Pascha, and we will ALWAYS be living the joy and hope that Pascha brings, because Christ IS Risen, and death has been defeated. That doesn’t just last one day, not even just one year. It lasts an eternity, but that isn’t the best part.
The best part is, God has ALSO given us the gift of being united to Him in Holy Communion at every Divine Liturgy, not just once at our baptism or just once a year at Pascha. As Orthodox Christians we are blessed to be able to receive Holy Communion, because of Pascha, at every Divine Liturgy, and that is definitely something to celebrate.