Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Love of God is Revealed in His Holy Passion

Each year we gather in the Church during Holy Week with candles in our hands, our eyes straining to read in the dim light of a darkened Church, witnessing the Holy Passion of Our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. Many times we may stop to consider just what impact Jesus Christ has had on the world. The triumph of Pascha, as proclaimed in the great Pascha Hymn, Christ is Risen Χριστός Ανέστη, expresses the ultimate victory of God’s love.
Χριστὸς ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν, θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσας, καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι, ζωὴν χαρισάμενος.

Christ is risen from the dead, by death, trampling down upon death, He has granted life.
The love of God is expressed in His willingness to lower Himself, become one of us mere human beings, live as one of us, among us, to lead us to be reunited to Himself. In this loving act, He was betrayed, beaten, lied about, mocked, abandoned by many, and ultimately put to death by the State, never once raising His hand against another, never once forcing anyone to follow Him, never once disrespecting the freedom of each human being to respond to His invitation to “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4.19)
During the Bridegroom Services, we are faced with the “Extreme Humility” of Christ, crucified in the tomb, as a witness of His saving love for us. During the Lamentations Service of Holy Friday evening, we follow Jesus Christ’s journey into the darkness of Hades to rescue human beings from death. From the Cross, Jesus teaches the gift of forgiveness when He says, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23.34)
The love that God reveals to us, my dear brothers and sisters, is a love of gentleness and forgiveness, it is a love of humility and sacrifice, and it is a love of freedom. It is Divine Love. The Divine Love of God, known as AGAPE, changed the world 2,000 years ago from the humble place of an oppressed people. The love of God, working in the hearts of Christians, shined in a world suppressed by darkness and sin. The love of God, led the so-called “civilized world” to abandon sin and embrace God. And it can do so again.
The world needs the love of God more now than ever in our lifetime. As the world continues to struggle against God, we will more and more find ourselves an oppressed people like the Christians of ancient days. Now is when we must reveal the love of God to the world, never raising our hands against another, never forcing anyone to follow Him, and never disrespecting the freedom of others to respond (or not) to His invitation. This is the example that God reveals to us in His Passion. And ONLY this AGAPE will again lead the world to abandon darkness and embrace God.

No comments: