Great & Holy PASCHA, 2023
I was raised to revere the Holy Scriptures. God’s Word was imprinted on my soul at a very early age because my family went often and repeatedly to the divine services offered at our local church. It was important that the church we attended not be merely a place that taught good morals or provided wholesome fellowship but believed in the Bible as God’s revelation of Himself to mankind. Too many churches that do not take the Bible seriously enough become mere social clubs, a place to converse with one’s fellow man, but not a place to meet God.
I became Orthodox because it is a church that believes the Bible. More than that, it is the Church that gave us the Bible and is the best and proper context for that divine revelation of God to the world. Outside the context of the Church, the Bible still possesses great power to communicate God’s Word, but it is too easily manipulated to fit into foreign contexts and to serve strange ends. Within the proper context of the Church, the Holy Scriptures shine like a radiant jewel in a perfect setting.
The service this Holy Saturday morning is sometimes called “Little Pascha” and it contains some of the most extensive and beautiful Scripture readings in the entire church liturgical calendar. Not less than FIFTEEN readings from the Old Testament and several from the New Testament survey salvation history and echo the work of the Savior who only sleeps in the tomb. Again and again, we hear the deliverance of God’s people from their earthly oppressors to prepare us for Christ’s deliverance from our ultimate oppressor: death and hell. The service all culminates in the epistle of St. Paul to the Romans and the first Gospel Proclamation of the Resurrection in Holy Week.
Hearing so much Scripture makes me ever grateful for my inheritance, “… And how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (II Timothy 3:15) I pray that you too may learn the riches of God’s Word in the context of the Holy Church.
Christ is risen! Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! Христос Воскресе!
Truly, Truly, He is risen!
Love this and my background reflects yours – I am so grateful for my journey into Orthodoxy and yes- Holy Saturday is my second favorite service of the year. Christ is Risen!
Dear Deacon Aaron.
Thank you for sharing this thoughtful article of yours in your blog. Like you my heritage as a Protestant American with heritage going back 400+ years contained the rigid Bible-Belieiing and Bible only dogmas? so to speak that drove many to contempt and even hatred of Catholics.The excelllent article I am sharing with you (link below) and which I hope you will read and share your thoughts on please are so much in accord with some of the thoughts of my beloved belated Metopolitan Anthony Bloom on trying to bridge the tragic chasm of the Schism of 1054. I don’t believe ecumenism is necessarily a bad or filthy heretical word…I am not an intellectual but very fearful in life of rigidity of any kind which withdraws into itself and can destroy people…I embrace the universality of the One Holy Catholic Church with orthodox faith and not a rigid ethnic brand… These are my humble thoughts. I don’t mean to offend anyone. Just sharing my thoughts. Nicholas
Nicholas Ron [image]
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I browsed the referenced article. I like the tone of distinguishing dogma (on which we should not bend) and the relatively large field of theological opinion (for which there should be a multiplicity and not strict uniformity of views).