Monday, April 17, 2017

It’s Just Getting Started!

Just as quickly as it began, so it has ended. Many Orthodox Christians today are exhausted physically and emotionally from a long Great Fast which culminated in hours of Church services the past few days, the pinnacle of which was the Resurrection of Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ celebrated at MIDNIGHT. Today many are looking back and wondering why it all has to end.

PHOTO BY: George Patides
It doesn’t have to end. In fact the celebration of Pascha is only getting started. This entire week, which the Church refers to as Bright Week or New Week, each day is Pascha. Fasting is forbidden. All the lights are on for every Church service but we still hold lit candles to represent the Resurrected Light of Christ. Even the Royal Gates remain open in the Church to signify the open Tomb of Christ and the Open Gates of Paradise. But those things are just the outwardly signs of Pascha.

The real celebration of Pascha is in our hearts as we begin to Live A New Life In Christ. Just as we have spent the past 56 days fasting and praying, now we have a second chance to live in the joyous news of the resurrection. If we took the time to evaluate our relationship with Our Lord, then today we are truly experiencing the New Week, during which we begin our new life in Christ.

In the ancient Church since most baptisms (baptisms were seasonal rather than throughout the entire year) the new faithful members of the Church would wear the white baptismal garments for the entire week returning on the Sunday of Thomas to “complete” the Chrismation service. In today’s practice this completion is the ceremonial wiping of the Chrism oil from the face, hands, feet, etc. at the very end of the service, but in the ancient Church this wiping didn’t take place until the end of the first week. This is one reason why this week is known as Bright Week, since the new faithful members wore the bright white garments all week.

So you have fasted, you have prayed, you have confessed, you have received the Light of Christ. Now go and live it! Your new life in Christ is getting started!

1 comment:

Maria Spounias said...

Christos Anesti! May we truly be lamps of our true God's light.