Christ is Risen!

This year Easter (Pascha) came almost a full month later for Orthodox Christians than it did for others. We are just finishing our second week of participation in the Resurrection of Christ, and for quite a while still we’ll be singing, “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!”

I am increasingly grateful for this season of Resurrection and new life because – like God Himself – the Resurrection is above all and unchangeable. It is a victory that can never be undone; one which we are invited to receive with love and celebrate with forgiveness of others.

Christ and His Resurrection is the most amazing gift ever given to mankind. God has defeated our greatest enemy: Death. God has not only defeated it, but has turned death on itself to become a door to life.

In the Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom, he says:

“Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: Hell, said he, was embittered, when it encountered Thee in the lower regions. It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face.”

If you’ve ever been to an Orthodox service, you will know that we repeat things. A lot. As mentioned already, during this season we are constantly saying to each other – “Christ is risen!” “Indeed, He is risen!” This world is constantly repeating things to us as well, creating anxiety and division if we listen too much.

Mirroring what Saint Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:12-17, a prominent contemporary theologian once said, “If Christ is risen, then nothing else matters. And if Christ is not risen — nothing else matters.”

All we need to do is hear these words of victory to know that nothing that the world says really matters, because Christ is risen. Death has been defeated, and is now the door to Life.

Remind each other of Christ’s Resurrection. Think about this when you receive bad news. If someone close to you dies, remember the victory of Christ. Dwell on it and be glad. Nothing else matters.

And if you see me out around town, please come up to me and remind me, “Christ is risen!” and I will joyfully respond, “Indeed, He is risen!”