How do we see Christ’s Resurrection in our lives?
The Sunday following Pascha is known as ‘Thomas Sunday.’
Christ, following His Resurrection, appeared to His disciples, He ‘stood among them’ and said to them ‘ Peace be with You…’ However Thomas was absent from this revelation, from this miraculous appearance of the Risen Jesus. Thus, when the following disciples announced this, that ‘we have seen the Lord,’ he was filled with doubt: ‘Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails (from his crucifixion) I will never believe.’ (Jn 20:19-29)
So, Thomas wanted to see the Lord’s physical presence, first hand, and the proof of His Resurrection. ‘Eight days later, His disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them… Jesus came and stood among them…. He said, ‘do not disbelieve but believe.’ Thomas answered ‘My Lord and my God!’
Christ then profoundly replied to Thomas – to all of us who doubt, who question His presence in our lives:
‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’
In this way Christ reminds us that our faith cannot be based on His physical appearance before us. If He did appear in such a way, we would all robotically believe in Him. On the contrary, His Resurrection is freely witnessed in our hearts (Eph 3:17) In this way, we are confident in Him. He is not physically seen (Heb 11:1) but experienced and felt through His loving presence.
How has God revealed Himself to us? How do we see His resurrection, His defeat of evil in our lives? Perhaps in the beauty of nature:
“When you walk in a forest, garden, or meadow, and see the young shoots of the plants, the fruits on the trees, and the variety of the flowers of the field, learn a lesson from God’s plants–namely, the lesson that every tree each summer unfailingly puts forth at least one shoot of considerable size, and unfailingly grows in height and dimensions. It seems as though every tree endeavours each year to advance by the strength that God has given it; therefore, say to yourself, I, too, must each day, each year, absolutely grow higher and higher morally, better and better, more and more perfect; must advance on the road to the Kingdom of Heaven, or to the Father which is in Heaven, through the strength of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Spirit dwelling and working within me. As the field is adorned by a multitude of flowers, so should the field of my own soul be adorned by all the flowers of virtue; as the trees bring forth flowers and afterwards fruit, so must my soul bring forth the fruits of faith and good works,” St. John of Kronstadt writes.
A recent elder of the Church talks about how nature truly points to God, especially throughout this season, springtime:
‘Now in the springtime, when nature is wearing its most beautiful apparel, one feels inexpressible joy when this natural beauty is accompanied by a sublime spiritual state. Truly, our holy God has made all things in wisdom!’
It is for this reason St John Chrysostom states ‘Nature is our best teacher,’ for ‘when we look at the order of creation we form in our mind an image, not of the essence, but of the wisdom of Him Who has made all things wisely.’ (St Gregory of Nyssa)
Thus a healthy spiritual state, a faithfulness and trust in God, leads to seeing and experiencing Him and His resurrection in everything, in His creation, in our loved ones and in our neighbours, in our daily lives and struggles. At Pascha and every Sunday we proclaim: ‘Having beheld (seen) the Resurrection of Christ, let us worship the Lord Jesus, the only sinless one…Come all you faithful let us venerate Christ’s Holy Resurrection! For, behold, though the cross joy has come into all the world.’
Christ is Risen brothers and sisters. Truly He is Risen.
Amongst our Archdiocese’ several new initiatives we were pleased and grateful to have many children join us yesterday morning for the first Archdiocesan Online Sunday school! Keep posted for our upcoming online lessons and events for our youth!