Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!
Christos Voskrese! Voistinnu Voskrese!
We are gathered in a spirit of joy and hope in our churches around the world to hear and sing that Christ is Risen! We participate and enter into the time of feasting and celebration that, as Christ is Risen, we also will rise and live for forever as members of the kingdom of God!
When we listen to the Gospel story in the readings, stichera, and hymns of Holy and Great Week, we hear that the experience of the disciples is an emotional roller coaster of feelings ranging from dread to ecstasy. Their world did not understand the disciples and challenged their beliefs at every turn.
They overcame their fears by their encounter with the Risen Jesus. What had been foretold by the prophets and by Jesus was confirmed as being true and real. We share in their experience and our faith is enriched each Easter. With each passing year we travel to a deeper level of understanding.
We can only imagine what non-believers in Jerusalem understood or thought of the passion, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The recent movie “Risen” retells the Easter story in an imaginative way from the perspective of an unbelieving Roman soldier. It was a time of war, violence, and social upheaval. Although the visual events are too strong for young children, the imaginary storyline follows an investigation of the death and Resurrection of Jesus by the soldier. Like a modern detective story, the soldier interviews witnesses and looks at evidence to disprove the Resurrection. However, his investigation and his encounter with the Risen Jesus transform him into one who believes that Jesus is the Messiah. He abandons his service to the empire to serve the kingdom of the Lord.
In my lifetime, our world has become ever closer to the world seen in the movie and to the world described in the gospel accounts. The news of violence, social unrest, and the growing number of unbelievers is increasing. We live in a world that needs healing. It is a broken world in need for each of us to continue to proclaim that Christ is Risen! If we believe, there is hope for the world.
We pray that this Easter brings the joy of the Resurrection to you and to your loved ones. We thank you for your attendance at the Lenten and Easter services and your support of your church and communities this year. As we bless and share our Easter, we pray that it will enrich you physically and spiritually to be like the soldier in the movie and the apostles who lived and proclaimed to all that Christ is Risen!