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Give me new life, O Lord: Meditations on the feast of the Glorious Resurrection

April 15, 2023

Tonight, we celebrate the feast of all feasts. We have come to the conclusion of Pascha to witness the risen Lord. My beloved, there is a reason the Church considers this to be the greatest of all feasts. While the sign of Christianity is the cross, the joy of christianity is the Resurrection. The hope of our faith is in the Resurrection. My beloved, tonight we will greet one another with the words, “Christ is Risen,” and reply saying, “Truly, He is Risen.” This is a testimony of our faith. A Christian is one who believes His Incarnate God conquered death.

While we have heard of holy men from the past raising others from the dead, we have never seen anyone who has the power within Him to conquer death, to defeat this beast that has been tormenting humanity for so long. My beloved, today the Church is going to pray for the first time and then repeat for the next fifty days the anthem of our Orthodoxy, “Christ is risen from the

 

dead, trampling down death by death, bestowing life to those who are in the tombs.” Truly this is the joy of everything that we have been fasting for. This is the reward of our lenten struggle.

This is the outcome of our pascha, that His light shines in His glorious Resurrection.

 

I have thought long about what I would share with you today, and I have decided that rather than try to give you my words, I will give you the words of my forefathers who have said it much better than I could ever. St. Gregory, the theologian, speaks about how we needed a God who was incarnate, a God who becomes human like us, a God who is put to death so that we can live. He says that we were put to death together in Him so that we can be cleansed. He writes about how the Lord was willing to come down so that we can be lifted up. He says that He allowed Himself to be dishonored so that we can be glorified. He died so that He might save us. He ascended so that He can pull us up to where He is. We need to give Him everything, offer Him all that we have, offer ourselves entirely. According to St. Gregory, “a few drops of blood recreate the whole creation.” My beloved, truly this is what we believe, that through His blood, through His sacrifice, through His resurrection, He has completely redefined life. He has brought us back to our first estate. He has renewed the goal of humanity. Once we had no purpose; we were just slowly moving towards death. But now, His incarnation, His ministry, His death and soon His Ascension and His sending of the Holy Spirit, all of these things have renewed us, have offered us a new chance to become truly human. My beloved, when we speak of being human, what we are really saying is that the standard of humanity is our Lord Christ. He has shown us what it means to be truly alive. This is the glory of God: that we might be able to be truly alive because He is Risen from the dead and has given us life.

 

St. John Crysostom speaks of death in an almost mocking manner. He says, “O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? Christ is risen and you are abolished. Christ is risen, and the demons are cast out. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life is free. Christ is risen, and the tomb is empty of the dead.” My beloved, this is what we celebrate. We rejoice with the Church and greet one another saying, “Christ is risen!” and respond with a tremendous amount of joy and hope, our hearts filled with peace and comfort, “Truly He is Risen!” We confess the Risen Lord, we celebrate the Risen Lord and our prayer to Him today and for the rest of our lives is, “Lord, as you rise, take me with You, give me new life, grant me the gift of the Resurrection, recreate me entirely that I may be glorified with you.” Christ is risen my beloved, truly He is risen! May the glory of His Resurrection shine in your life today and forever more.

 

To God be all glory now and forever and unto the ages of all ages, Amen.

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