In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit Amen. Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
I had the good fortune this last Friday to attend and sing at the funeral of our parish’s newest member: The servant of God, Lev, in the final moments of his earthly sojourn, consented to his family’s fervent desire that he be baptized and receive Holy Communion as an Orthodox Christian. At his funeral just a few days ago the church sang some of the boldest, most audacious words about our brother’s death and what most assuredly will someday be our fate as well:
Thou alone art immortal, [addressing Christ]/ Who didst create and fashion man; / but we mortals were formed of earth, and unto earth shall we return, / as Thou who madest me didst command and say unto me: / For earth thou art and unto earth shalt thou return, / whither all we mortals are going, / making as a funeral dirge the song: // Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
This is from a homeschooling mom who is a family friend. Christ is risen!
Hello! I am so excited to be a guest here on this platform. Please feel free to comment or reach out. I’d love to hear from you! I have an extensive number of topics to blab about: being a Christian, mom of three boys on a homeschooling journey, but I thought it would be most appropriate and recommended by my friend that I write about Pascha. Below is my very first Pascha basket! I dyed the eggs with my children, baked the Pascha bread which I learned is a Russian and Ukrainian tradition, amongst other European countries. I added in my culture’s famous cookies (Lebanese & Syrian) later. It is truly a beautiful season to honor our Lord while making memories with friends and family of Christ.
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.
Thou hast ravished me with longing, O Christ, and with Thy divine love Thou hast changed me. But burn up with spiritual fire my sins and make me worthy to be filled with delight in Thee, that I may leap for joy, O gracious Lord, and magnify Thy two comings. Into the splendor of Thy Saints how shall I who am unworthy enter? For if I dare to enter the bridechamber, my vesture betrays me, for it is not a wedding garment, and as a prisoner I shall be cast out by the Angels. Cleanse my soul from pollution and save me, O Lord, in Thy love for men.
“Uh, Fahhh-ther, the Bible says that the sacrament of the Lord’s supper is only a symbol or a mere remembrance.” I can still hear my nagging, self-righteous challenge from so long ago. As one of the few fundamentalist, Protestant Christians in an all-boys Roman Catholic high school, my biblical challenges in a class on sacramental theology came often and not always welcomed. I was especially bothered by what the priest would teach concerning what the Roman Church calls the sacrifice of the Mass; i.e., that in consecrating the bread and wine into the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, we the faithful are not merely remembering Him like some historical event or person, but re-presenting Him in this particular moment of time. In other words, whenever the Mass is celebrated, the timeless work of salvation, the Paschal Mystery (first time I learned this word “Pascha” from a Catholic priest) of Our Lord’s death, burial, Resurrection and Ascension is brought again from the timeless into this present moment of time.
For those of you in my faithful readership who have yet to experience an Orthodox Christian Holy Week, now is your chance! At an Orthodox parish near you, a week of services has begun unlike any you have experienced anywhere else on the planet. Today is Great and Holy Wednesday. If you are local to Boston, you are cordially invited to attend all of the services our parish offers. On Holy Friday, for instance, one of my sons feels like heaven and nature weep, so he makes a special candle to resist the elements and howling of any storm. If you can only do one service, come to either Saturday morning Liturgy or late Saturday night, early Sunday morning for the Feast of Feasts, GREAT AND HOLY PASCHA.
Worse case scenario, if you are unable to appear hypostatically (in person), you can at least listen to a youtube channel created that has much of the key music or the ever-mellifluous Ancient Faith Radio. WARNING: Once you have gone to one service, you won’t be able to stop, so clear your schedule for God because He deserves your praise more than baseball games, concerts, or that addicting TV series. Let the divine drama begin!
Christ is risen! Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! Христос Воскресе! Truly, Truly, He is risen!
Who can contain this good news? The Lord of heaven, who lately was held fast in the grave is no longer there. He is risen! And with his arising, we too have eternal life.
Take a moment out of your day today and listen to this irrepressible good news with one of the brightest melodies of paschal joy, the Georgian (the country, not the state) version of the Resurrection theme song. And tell me after listening that you still don’t believe it. FOR CHRIST IS RISEN!!!
Dear Readers, I came across this lovely portrayal of an Orthodox Holy Week from the associate priest of our parish who grew up in an Orthodox Christian country. I always say that we converts (those who became Orthodox as adults) can learn so much from those who knew it from their very cradle, for to them the faith is as natural as breathing air. This kind of simple innocence shines through in father’s words below. And if you have never been to any Orthodox services, behold NOW is the time, while Divine Services last until this Sunday when we celebrate the Feasts of all Feasts, Great and Holy Pascha!
Having prepared through weeks of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, we are now approaching the “feast of feasts and the holy day of holy days.” But before we can arrive at that sacred day of Pascha, we first must traverse the Church’s Great & Holy Week, where there will be more services than usual, sometimes both in the morning and in the evening. That means more opportunities to emerge from our daily jobs, homes, and chores and into the Church – not unlike the way in which the ancient monastics would return to their monasteries after spending the entirety of Great Lent in the wilderness.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Christ is risen! Truly he is risen! The Pascal Canon declares “This is the chosen and holy day, the first of Sabbaths, King and Lord of days, the Feasts of feasts, Holy Day of holy days on this day we bless Christ forever more.”
And on this Sunday of the never-ending day of the resurrection we remember a man who seemed to possess never-ending suffering. The paralytic in today’s Gospel had been by the pool of Bethesda for 38 years. Yet he does not waver in his desire and perseverance to be healed, even when as he confesses that he has no man to help him into the healing pool. The question put to him by the Lord is quite striking and may even sound offensive to some of us, “Do you want to be healed?”
Well, folks. It is here again. But this papa has had a lot less time than previous years to quietly contemplate the great mystery before us. But we Christians believe that all is part of God’s providence, so Glory to God for all things. I do have a good post written out, but I recognize with only 30 minutes left on the clock, I dare not wade too deeply into the waters of God’s extravagant love and our deep debt towards his unfathomable loving kindness. So instead, I will simply share a picture of our home shrine and wish you all…
Christ is risen! Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! Христос Воскресе! Truly, Truly, He is risen!
This is a picture of a book that my father found when he was digging through old books. Once I saw it, I began reading immediately because I love comics. The details in the book about the resurrection of Christ are both simple to copy and complicated enough to be interesting. One picture displays Jesus Christ shining 20 times brighter than the sun and breaking the gates of Hades by destroying the power of death. The author Michael Elgamal creates art by transforming ancient icons into fun kids’ pictures. Here are some of my drawings of his illustrations: Continue reading →