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Christ, the Passover great and most Holy! O Wisdom, Word and Power of God! Grant that we may more perfectly partake of Thee in the day of Thy Kingdom which knows no night. (Orthodox Paschal Hymn).

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Easter is the feast of real joy because it celebrates ‘Christ, the Passover’, our Saviour’s sacrifice and His Resurrection! These great events powerfully reveal God’s love for all humankind, and they have allowed us to hope in the miracle of eternal life. Such a life no longer ‘knows night’, since Christ’s sacrifice has decisively destroyed the power of death, darkness and decay.

Easter begins on the night of the Paschal celebration. For fifty days after Easter, everyone is invited to enter ‘this great joy of their Lord,’ so eloquently expressed by St John Chrysostom in his Easter sermon, where he states, ‘rich and poor, come to the feast, receive all the riches of loving-kindness…for the universal Kingdom has been revealed.’ This statement explains why Easter is a celebration of real joy because it tells us that God’s mercy is directed to all people since Christ became our Pascal sacrifice, through which He delivered us from the consequences of our sins, our sense of hopelessness and despair.

Easter gives us hope in eternal life. In other words, we know that life does not end at the grave because our Lord has overcome death and opened up our passage to His eternal Kingdom. Easter, however, does not only affect how we view existential matters such as where we go to from this life, but it also can influence how we deal with issues and problems which challenge us in our day-to-day experience. This is because, as Alexander Schmemann writes: ‘Easter transforms the year into a “Christian year.”’

[1] Everything, from this moment onwards takes on a new meaning because of the joy that ‘Christ is Risen!’ And so, no matter how difficult our circumstances may be, no matter what challenges we have from ourselves, our family, our peers, or from our society, the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ overcame death gives us hope.

He gave us back the gift of life which we had lost because of the consequences of sin. He can transform our night into light, because only He can raise our fallen nature, and show us through His example of service and sacrifice, how to live in this world so we can attain true and eternal life. Because of Christ’s Resurrection we now know that life does not end at the grave. Death is not eternal rest, but opens our way to eternal life.[2] His sacrifice and victory over sin, frees us from the tyranny of our own sins. His death leads us to life. This Easter may we appreciate this great gift of joy, the ‘Feast of Feasts and the Triumph of Triumphs’[3] which has been granted to us because of the Resurrection of our Lord.

[1] A. Schmemann, For the Life of The World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy, St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1973, p. 58.

[2] Ibid, p. 57.

[3] Pascal Hymn.


Source: AprilMay 2014 Lychnos Edition