Enter All of You!
Enter all of you, therefore, into the joy of our Lord, and, whether first or last, receive your reward. O rich and poor, one with another, dance for joy! O you ascetics and you negligent, celebrate the day! You that have fasted and you that have disregarded the fast, rejoice today! The table is rich-laden; feast royally, all of you! The calf is fatted; let no one go forth hungry!
- St. John Chrysostom
I woke up this morning to a house still strewn with evidences of much feasting and celebrating: vases of flowers on sinks and tables, furniture reconfigured to make room for our many guests, a refrigerator stuffed with chocolate, cheese and prosciutto, strands of pink easter grass from Pascha baskets for the kids, and sticky frosting residue from enormous cinnamon rolls on our kitchen counters.
I was especially struck this year by the sacredness of coming together, wounds and all, to, as Wendell Berry so beautifully put it, “Practice Resurrection.” All bleary eyed in the wee hours of the morning, after days of long preparatory services, and weeks of being humbled by Lent, our parish community, my friends and family, sang “Christ is Risen!” until our voices were hoarse and hearts ached with gratitude and relief. Death gives way to life! Abundant life! Both now and for eternity.
It has been my experience, an experience most certainly validated over the last couple of days, that Christ’s Resurrection, and thereby our deliverance from emptiness and despair, is felt most profoundly when regularly practiced through self-sacrificial love for one another. Death to ourselves saves us from ourselves and all the pettiness, divisiveness and vain pursuits blocking our access to the Kingdom of Heaven.
To be Resurrected with Christ, however, is to bear witness to the Kingdom of Heaven through our attentiveness, compassion, generosity, inner peace, irrational hope, and through drawing out what is eternally beautiful in this world and in each other. Your joy becomes my joy, my peace becomes your peace, our burdens become bearable, and lives are transformed!
It’s no joke, the Resurrection. O death where is your victory? O hell where is your sting? Christ is Risen! And nothing, no one, is beyond redemption! Christ is Risen! And the love you sow now will bloom forever and forever! Christ is Risen! And today and everyday is an opportunity to emerge from darkness and choose eternal Life and Light!
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