Saturday, April 30, 2016

What will we do?

How quickly the forty days fast flew by, even with the three weeks preparation for it! How quickly, too, the brief days and nights of Holy Week, now that we are just a few hours from beginning the Vigil of Pascha.

We will watch as the temple fills up with well-wishers, families and lovers greeting each other unselfconscious of the Resurrection that has remade their lives, and then we will meet the mellifluous chants rising above the humming ison, telling us of the wonders of God’s plan of salvation, His ikonomia.

Loneliness, even for those who have lost or left all who once lived with them and loved them, will be banished, as the brethren crowd inside the temple, sometimes so closely that one cannot force a finger between them. This is as God wants it. This is how He has ordered it to be. It is another living ikon of the life of the Most High, the unearthly Triad who has desired to mix with us, imparting to us the love that begat all worlds.

From the days of the Jewish Temple until now, the Eternal has been felling our mortality with His love, that we can bud anew, and flower in faith, and bring forth the fruit of immortality.

Soon, I will get on my sandals and make my pilgrim way to where the tribes are gathered for the Festival, all of us armed with pure tapers readied to receive the light from the unwaning Light of the Resurrection, all of us prepared to undergo the transformation from bondage to freedom which is signaled by this great mystery, as we gather under the night sky full of stars, listening for the command to leave the Egypt of our weaknesses, sicknesses, and sins, and crossing the sea of this world dry-shod, to arrive safely in the land of our testing, protected by the fiery pillar from behind, led by the mighty cloud of witnesses that goes before.

This is no mere Passover walk under the full moon, but the beginning of our redemption, itself the Redemption of the whole world, accomplished not by rules and regulations of law-givers, nor even by the exhortations of prophets, but by Messiah Himself, the Son of God, of whose Kingdom there is no end. We draw together this night to meditate, to commemorate, to celebrate the victory of Christ over death and hell.

Tomorrow the sun will rise as it always does, and we, still sleepy from our personal night journeys, will by grace be raised anew to life.

This world will be different, because not in our dreams but in our staying awake, we came close to Heaven, our very garments grazed the Gates, not of Hades, but of Paradise, and the Lord whose empty Tomb by faith we entered, again awaits our response to His call and His commands,

‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ (Matthew 28:19-20). 

What will we do?

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