Orthodoxy offers the fullness of the Christian faith. It is the undivided church without fracture. Which until meeting a very good friend, I took for granted. Wow, to think that you could go to any Orthodox church and the service would be the same. Here are just a few of the many cultures that have the Orthodox church...Greek, Arabic, Russian, Italian, Chinese, Swedish, Dutch, Ethiopian, Coptic, Serbian, German, French, Japanese, Romanian, American (Orthodox Church of America)... and that only names a few.
The priest comes out with the light. "Come receive the light, that is never over taken by night." This theme of light and dark is essential to understanding what Holy Pascha is for Christians. The light can never be over taken by the dark. Christ went into the tombs, into hell and clean up shop. Christ brings us the light that we may know and see the path out of darkness and into eternal life.
The light is passed to the members of the church and the darkened places now is invaded by the light. We all become illuminated by Christ. Our souls are now illuminated in the glory of his resurrection.
As always the priest duty is to lead of in prayer, in worship... we begin to sing... Christ in Risen from the Dead. By death he has trampled down death. And to those in the tombs he is bestowing life.
Just as Christ died we will also die. We can not escape death without Christ. Just as he resurrected we will resurrect into eternal life.
I'm forgetting the name of the monk who was asked what is the meaning of all of this? What is the meaning of life? And he was asked to answer it in one sentence. His response was:
We have fallen from grace and our life's purpose is the journey back to God.
This one sentence has deep meaning. People throughout their lives search for the truth, the meaning and purpose. This is the call. The call from God to come back to him. We were never intended to die. We were ment to walk with God like Adam. It is our fall from grace in Eden. And now we are all called back to find him again.
This is really deep. I know. And I don't write about faith often. Many of my friends and (I'm a shamed to admit it) family do not believe and have down right rejected Christ and God. I learned that my family members back home didn't even go to one service, yet still would say..."Christ is Risen" when greeting each other. I can't tell you how much this saddens me. It is one thing to not believe and say it so. But another to say you believe but don't practice. But I must tend to my own garden.
The best way to see change is to wait patiently while being a good example. I am only tasked with my own salvation and to share my story and the story of Christ. This I can carry. This I can do.
However you celebrated... I hope it was with the focus of Christ.
Images VIA: Jackie Boldt Owner of Live and Love Studios