The Resurrection is a Revolution
Every year has several days of celebrations, or festive days, during which we honour a religious, national or social event. These are meant to instil in our minds the deeper meaning of the occasion.
For us Orthodox Christians the Resurrection, or Pascha, is a joyful and enthusiastic celebration. On the one hand there is a strong religious preparation (Great Lent, Holy Week) accompanied on Easter day by centuries-old customs, such as: the Easter candles; red eggs; Easter bread (tsoureki); lamb on the spit; and the exuberant spirit of friendship, joy, forgiveness and closeness with one another. All these customs are external signs of celebration and human relations, albeit short and temporary.
The Church, however, does not celebrate the Resurrection in this manner. Rather, it celebrates the Resurrection of Christ, which denotes three major truths of our Faith:
- The shattering of the power of the devil;
- The victory of Christ over death; and,
- The possibility that man himself can be resurrected.
The Resurrection of Christ proves His divinity, since neither death nor the tomb can contain or restrict Him in any sense. At the same time we appreciate the possibility that man himself can breach the barrier of death.
Imagine that death is a wall, a flat screen, dark and impenetrable. The Resurrection of Christ makes it transparent and penetrable, which means that you can see through it and behind it. And furthermore, what is unimaginable, you can go through it into the real life, which is Life Eternal.
Whilst death is an undeniable reality which everyone has to face some time, at the same time it is not darkness invisible, nor the end of everything – it is a passage from one place to another. After all, Pascha means passage from: the temporary to the eternal; the material to the incorruptible; the world of spiritual bankruptcy to the Kingdom of God.
In our time, the matter has become taboo, people do not like to think about it, let alone to talk of it. When the matter is raised the answer of most is, “knock on wood!”
The world has yet to find a solution to the problem of departure from this life. One cannot entirely blame people, as the idea of death is inherent in human nature. And yet the solution is staring at people, the only difficulty being that they are not willing to accept it. It is the faith in the Resurrected Christ. It is one thing to passively accept that one day your life will end and nothing remains after that, and another to believe that after your life on earth, there is a better one, brighter and really blessed. The revolutionary idea is that Faith should not be theoretical, but born out of personal experience, where Christ is the centre of one’s life. Whoever has this Faith should never lose it. And he who does not have it should search to find it. There is no other way to confront the end of life.
Apostle Paul never met Christ in person, and yet he preached his experience of the Resurrection with such force and certainty, that it brought God to whole nations.
When you read the lives of saints or live next to a Saint Paisios, they “steal” your confidence, you become certain that they have experience of what they say.
The Resurrection of Christ is a revolution. It is the spiritual “Coup d’ etat” that the human race was expecting for centuries. It happened so as to defeat our worst enemy and the evil that was introduced into our life – death. Since then, that evil has become transparent and penetrable, we can breach its barrier and enter the gate to Eternal Life.
To succeed we need Faith – real Faith, deep Faith, strong Faith, and above all, saving Faith – like that which all those who were cured and healed by Jesus Christ had, who were told, “your Faith has saved you.” Let us pray that this will happen to us all.
Source: Lychnos June-July 2020 edition