Christ is Risen
Today Orthodox Christians take leave of the time of Pascha, the most beautiful time of year. The leave taking of Pascha is part of our migration from Pascha, to the Ascension to Pentecost. All through this season between Pascha to the Ascension we have greeted all in our company with Christ is Risen, often before even saying hello!
Tomorrow we will celebrate the the Feast of the Ascension, but in keeping with the abundant fullness of Christ’s Resurrection let us say, Christ is Risen one last time!
There is a story our mission committee was told six months ago from a Guatemalan missionary. It absolutely warms my heart, and I think it will yours too. They are catechizing an entire village, and he talked about – just how does one do this. His story is narrated to a video of the village, and the setting is that it is also, like today, the leave-taking of the time of Pascha. The missionaries wanted to let everyone know that it is the last day of the season to greet one another with Christ is Risen.
The village is very poor, and it’s people subsistence farmers. From the pictures, the village is nestled in what appears to be valley but by the sea. The entire village has a public announcement system (of all things!) that anyone can use to broadcast a message as early as 5:00am. So the missionaries, who are through OCMC, considered the village public broadcast system be the best way to spread the catechetical message. Just before sunrise, the missionaries began to make the announcement (in Spanish, of course) that “today is the Apodosis of Pascha – and it is the last day that we say and sing Christ is Risen.”
As our missionary narrates the story, the video pans from inside the radio room, to a shot outside in the village. You can see the sun just barely rising over the horizon, and hear “Christ is Risen” over the speakers.
How absolutely beautiful that as the sun is rising, the voices of the villagers can be heard in response, chanting and singing “Truly He is Risen”. Voices of pure jubilation. Literally, hearts were overflowing with joy- it is clear they have tasted the Lord.
It gave me goosebumps.
Father Alexander Schmemman, of blessed memory, says that “One cannot know that God exists and not rejoice.”
The story of this village, I told my family – how beautiful, simple and pure was their faith. These people rely on God for absolutely everything. They can’t run to the store if there is a blight on their tomatoes or if there is a draught. There is scarcely medical care. They recognize with clarity that God is the source of their life and all their blessings.
May all of our hearts rejoice with simple delight in the Risen Lord, for each and every blessing, for each and every sorrow, for our relationships and the gift of this life. May we glorify God and exalt Him, in the Church and throughout our encounters with all who cross our paths.
Truly, through the Cross, joy has come into all the world.
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!