PASCHA HAS NOT ENDED
NOR WILL IT EVER END
Pascha is the continuous celebration by Orthodox Christians being the Feast of feasts, and the time of great joy and exultation. The Feast Day itself is considered and lived as a single day of celebration, not with parties eating and drinking but in the holy churches, or at home, having the triumphant hymns of Pascha on our lips. It is also the continuous enjoyment of the divine mysteries. the immortal food which descends from heaven. The Paschal season continues for forty days during which we joyously sing: “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down on death by death and to those in the tomb, He has granted life.” Even then, the celebration does not end, for in every Sunday Orthos (Matins) we continue to rejoice in the resurrection with the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection of Christ. Pascha is continuous; Pascha raises our souls; Pascha is heaven on earth!
The objective of all this celebration is to arouse the Orthodox Christian souls to take part in a new and resurrected life, for the true Orthodox Christian is the resurrected man. In the second Ode of the Paschal Canon we sing in the first tone:
“Yesterday I was buried with you, today I rise with your arising. Yesterday I was crucified with you, glorify me O Savior with you in your kingdom.” The resurrected man is the man who arises in the resurrection, the man whom God conceived from the beginning, and who gradually becomes more and more His image and likeness. Christ speaks of such men: “Be holy for I am holy. Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
“Today I rise with your arising,” means that we rise above and out of reach of the demonic powers of this world, above the blasphemies, the cursing, the fornications, the love of money, and the love of this world. As John the disciple whom Christ loves, says: “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world; And the world passes away, with its desires, but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (1John 2:15-17).
Rising above the world and its desires, does not mean that we stop eating, drinking, marrying, having children and exercising, but it means that we walk in the brilliancy of the resurrection, in the newness of life! We hear in every Divine Liturgy: “Let us commend ourselves and one another, and all our lives unto Christ our God.” Also: “That we may have a good apology at the fearful judgment seat of Christ, let us ask of the Lord.” Each day of our lives are granted to us by God, to do whatever we choose, but we need to watch and act properly for none of us know when we will be called to give an account for our choices in this life.
The resurrected Orthodox Christian, will certainly arise in the general resurrection after leaving this present world. It is clear that God does not desire that we hate the world which He created and is filled with beauty, but the moral world which the Evil one controls, through sins and transgressions of men. For if everyone disobeyed the Devil, we would have peace on earth and good will among men. There would ne no crime, no tyranny, no fornication, no adulteries, no jealousy no wars or revolutions.
Pascha is not of this world, but is a continuous state of being for the resurrected man, who is raised above this world having chosen to live in the kingdom now, and his closest friends are the Theotokos and the many saints and martyrs.
This resurrected life is a life of frequent prayer, reading of uplifting books primarily the Bible every day. It is attending Church services and receiving with fear, faith and love, the Holy Mysteries, the medicine which eradicates sin within us and is the source of spiritual power and immortality. Where does this resurrected life lead to? Happiness and uninterrupted joy every day of our lives regardless of circumstances. Hope that warms our hearts and causes us to always render thanks to God for everything! May we all become children of the Resurrection and find ourselves welcomed by Christ into the future eternal Pascha! Christ is risen!