Christ is risen!
Today is the Apodosis (Leavetaking) of the Feast of Pascha. We get to once more celebrate as we did on that night 40 days ago when the church building was dark, the people were all crowded into the building holding unlit candles, and an anticipatory quiet hung heavy among the people. Suddenly, a single light appeared within the Holy Place and the priest coms through the Royal Doors with a beautiful lit candle and proclaims “Christ is RISEN!.” The people sing the hymn of Resurrection with joy as the single candle becomes multitude and the whole place is bathed in physical and spiritual LIGHT.
The Feast of Pascha has come! And now we say goodbye to the Feast as we said hello. We have lived with the Resurrected Christ for 40 days as He has taught us and encouraged us, and led us, and comforted us, and commanded us, and now He is to Ascend into the heavens to sit at the Right hand of the Father and send in just 10 days the promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, the One called along side to help us.
What wonder are these saving days! What spiritual treasures! Now, do you see the deep and cosmic tragedy of passing through these days without attention, asleep to the power of these days, and untouched by what could be. Tragedy!
This brings us to the third basic practice of the Orthodox faith that, if atended to, rewards the faithful with spiritual maturity and a robust faith worthy to be passed on from generation to generation.
We have spoken about Repentance and Humility and now:
The basic practice of Anamnesis – Remembering, is key to a healthy spiritual life that gives credibility to you being called “the faithful.”
As with Repentance and Humility, Remembering is all too easily misunderstood as a mere recalling of old events, leading to mere nostalgia or, worse yet, mere sentiment. Neither of these shadows of true Remembering will ever bring a soul to spiritual maturity.
Anamnesis – Remembering – is the miraculous grace of actually practicing the faith with the real sense that we have Christ right here with us. He is in our midst. His Supper is not simply a repeat of an old event, but an actual rejoining at every Eucharistic service of that ONE Supper performed by Christ with His disciples before His Lifesaving Passion. The celebration of His Resurrection is the actual rejoining of the Myrrh-bearers as they look into the Empty Tomb and hear the Good News for the first time – He is not here – He is risen as He said! The Feast of His Ascension is not a pious story meant to stir our emotions and cause tears to well up in our eyes, but an actual standing on the Mount of Olives and joining the other followers of Jesus as we gaze up into the sky, watching our Lord ascend through the air making an open spectacle of His victory over death before the universe!
You know the power of this Remembering. You sense it every time you put yourself back in the place of your first love, the birth of your children, a graduation, or the thrill of that first time behind the wheel of your first car. You know the power of this Remembering to renew your commitment to ideals and practices that renew your heart, strengthen your resolve, and move you along the path to purposeful living.
Today, my dearest, scatter about you in your home, your car, your office, your mind, your language, your use of your time, your priorities, and even your financial budget, tokens of memory that draw you back into an intimacy with God, and a faithful practice of a purposeful Orthodoxy. Don’t just be stirred in your emotions, but be attentive in your behavior and actions and words to the timeless reality of the Faith that has transfigured the universe, beginning with the universe of your heart. Today, His Tomb is EMPTY, and nothing will remain the same.