Christ is Risen!
The word of the day is “alive.” Well, today, we will have a festive Pascha dinner, and we will share Paschal Greeting, “Christ is Risen.” In keeping with this joyful theme, the word of the day is “alive.” Our journey to the Cross is complete, so we think. We can now resume our lives with the memory of the glorious hymns of Pascha to uplift us.
But now, let us suppress any suggestion that we can enjoy a time of spiritual relaxation. We now enter into the forty days of the appearances of the Risen Christ. This is the time when Luke says in today’s reading of Acts 1:1-8 that Christ “presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them for forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (NKJV vs. 3).
The Appearances of the Risen Christ
This was a crucial time of the proof that the Crucified Lord had indeed conquered death and risen from the dead. As our key verse indicates, it was a time of instruction as the Risen Christ “opened the Scriptures” to the disciples starting with the men on the Road to Emmaus. The Lord Himself expounded in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. The word in Greek means to “explain thoroughly” (Strong’s #1329, 68). Accordingly, the Lord Himself taught the disciples to interpret the Scriptures in the light of His Cross and resurrection.
But above all, these 40 days are a time of contagious joy. During this season of Pascha, we greet one another, “Christ is Risen,” and we reply, “Indeed He is risen.” In His Paschal Letter last year, His Eminence Archbishop Paul of the Diocese of the Midwest wrote that our song of joy could not be suppressed. Of the Covid shutdown, the archbishop wrote, “I don’t know how long we will continue under these restrictions. But I do know nothing can stop us from singing, “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.” Indeed, let not only our mouths but our lives sing it as well. Let us sing it wherever we are and whatever we are doing. Perhaps, by God’s grace, others will join us in the exultation of this most triumphant song. And to God be the Glory forevermore.”
Yes, we are so full of rejoicing that we must share it. Fred Kreisler who was a renowned violinist and composer, known for the lovely, melodic tone that he could get from a violin. He owned several prized violins from the world’s best violin makers, such as Antonio Stradivari. Once, he came across an especially fine violin. But at the time, he could not afford it. When he had the funds, he went back to the dealer, but he found that the violin had been sold to a collector. Determined, Kreisler went to the collector to ask if he could buy it from him. The collector said it wasn’t for sale. Disappointed, Kreisler started to leave. But at the door, he turned around and asked if he could just play the precious instrument just once. When Kreisler played, the owner was so moved by the gorgeous sound that he said, “Take the violin. It is yours. I can’t keep such magnificent music to myself.” So it is with our rejoicing in the resurrection. We are compelled to say it and sing it again and again, “Christ is risen!”