"Christ is Risen from the Dead"
by Archbishop Gibran (Ramlaoui) of Australia and New Zealand
For twenty centuries, and every year, the Christian world celebrates the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus. Christians expect this glorious event through special rituals, extensive prayers and a long period of Lent.
This Feast is referred to as Easter, because Jesus came from the East, like the sun, enlightening the world; as Passover, because by Jesus we pass from death into life; as the Resurrection, because Jesus has trampled down death and came, alive, out of the tomb.
The Church observes this momentous occasion as “The Feast of the feasts, The Season of the seasons,” and calls upon us to rejoice and be happy for the light has shone in the world vanquishing the darkness of death.
The teachings of the Church, the dogmas, the doctrines, the traditions, the rituals, and all other expressions of faith might become mere rational realities and thus empty of their true meaning, empty of life. Because Jesus is the Life, the events that He experienced are but channels through which we receive this very life when and only if we make His events our own; in other words, we have to experience what Jesus experienced and then only His life becomes ours, His death becomes ours, and His Resurrection ceases to be a meaningless repetition; then only do we resurrect with Jesus. And if the Resurrection of our Saviour is not ours, the Resurrection of our own selves, why should we celebrate it? Why should we delude and deceive ourselves by pretending that the festivities of Easter alone are sufficient and capable of giving us all the spiritual benefits of the Resurrection? We know very well that the rituals—the symbols—derive their value from the meaning which they symbolize. Thus the rituals of Easter, including its annual celebration, must be observed only as both living and lived expressions of our authentic participation in the Resurrection of Christ. I have to live Christ, then when I celebrate His Resurrection I am, myself, Resurrecting with Him, because Jesus has not Resurrected once in the time: as His birth is a continual process, since the fullness of time has been achieved, in the same manner His Resurrection is occurring continuously in the time, and we can rightly and duly say that at no moment the Resurrection of Jesus is not happening as fully and authentically as it happened for the first time.
Thus the celebration of the Resurrection is not limited to one day of the year, or one day of the week (Sunday). Every day, every hour, and every moment of my life is the Resurrection of Christ in me, and my Resurrection in Jesus.
From this scope, we can realize the awesome responsibility that a Christian must assume in order to be a true Christian according to what Jesus teaches, and expects from the members of His Body.
Awesome responsibility, because—I—the flesh and the bones, the fragile creature, the finite mind and limited possibilities—I said because I am called to live the Resurrection of my Lord continually, in order to become that very light which sprung from the tomb to illuminate the whole world so every man may see it, and, by it, may share effectively the Resurrection of my Lord and Saviour Jesus the Christ.
May His Resurrection be your lot. AMEN.
Publication of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America