CHRIST IS RISEN!
‘If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.’ (1 Cor 15:14)
The Resurrection of the incarnate God, our Lord Jesus Christ, is the epicentre of our Christian faith and life. It is in the Resurrection that we find our hope in troubles, our patience in testing periods and our victory in our daily struggle against sin and death. It is in Christ’s Resurrection we fundamentally find our courageous and undiscriminating love for our neighbours – even those who behave unjustly to us, for ‘all sins are forgiven’ through the Resurrection, as we proclaim in the hymn (Doxastikon) of Pascha.
Everything in the life of the Church flows and stems from the glorious Resurrection. As His All Holiness our Ecumenical Patriarch writes in His Paschal encyclical, ‘The mystery and experience of the Resurrection constitutes the core of the ecclesiastical life. The radiant worship, the sacred mysteries, the life of prayer, fasting and ascesis, pastoral ministry and good witness in the world – all of these emanate the fragrance of Paschal joy. The life of the faithful in the Church is a daily Pascha.’
We are thus a faith of joy, a faith which is indeed alive through the Resurrection, a faith triumphant over all difficulties and over death itself.
St John Chrysostom’s sermon is read during the Paschal service. It is a sermon that expresses this eternal joy in which we are called to partake of at every Liturgy, to participate in through our philanthropy and care for others, and called to share with those around us on a daily basis:
‘Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness. Let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free…O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown….For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen!’