“I shall not die but live, and declare
the works of the Lord” (Psalm 117:17).
The Pascha of the Lord concerns everlasting life, for by His death He has put death to death. Who is able to speak the words of the Psalm: “I shall not die but live? All those who in faith worship and obey the living Lord Jesus. They will know that the God of all dwells in them and that they will never die, filling them with great joy. Enoch, Elias and John did not die and they are seen as proof of our own immortality. Pascha, the Lord’s Pascha celebrates death being put to death and life is bestowed on all the faithful. Pascha brings victory over death and new life into our souls.
We Orthodox Christians must with great certainty testify to the life that never ends, which is the life we live by following our Lord Jesus Christ. The ruler of darkness who sought to quench the light has been overthrown by Christ and he will enter into outer darkness as he deserves. Faith in Christ causes our whole life to undergo great change for with our faith we also receive eternal life. Consuming of the Holy Eucharist cause us the partake of Christ himself who put death to death and is the eternal source of life that never ends. Thus we now cry out: “I shall not die but live and declare the works of the Lord.”
The Lord finished His work and rested, that is, He rested for three days in the tomb and then, on that glorious day of Pascha, He arose and will never die again and tells us: “I shall not die but live.”
Those who reject Christ have no part in life but are dead before they die and will be cast into outer darkness, for they do not desire life that never ends.
This temporary life causes us to realize the temporary nature of our existence here and our complete freedom to do what we will. This life requires us to eat and drink work and sleep in order to maintain it. However this life will come to an end for sooner or later we must die, for this life is about life and eventual death.
All mankind is called to the wonderful life that Christ brought to us on the day of Pascha which He bestows upon all who desire the life that never ends. The eternal life is not like this temporary life for it is deathless and without pain or sorrow or suffering, but is endless joy and exultation. The eternal life is the only endless life of total happiness. Living in this life we can cry to all: “I shall not die but live, and declare the works of the Lord.” Sin is the cause of mankind’s every evil for it confuses men and they live and suffer without realizing that sin is the cause of their misery. Man cannot live without God and it is a great evil to ignore or deny God’s authority over humanity. When a man is caught into sin he is like a decapitated chicken which struggles convulsively, so the sinner is caught in the throes of death and its terrible consequences.
The devil, stripped of his authority has become like a vapor or smoke, unable to resist our efforts, and Christ having rendered us free of sin, guides us into the fields of immortality toward the life that will never end. Christ is our head and we, the church, are His body and following our head we are led into the heavenly kingdom, for we shall not die but live.
Pascha is the Feast of feasts, the Festival of festivals, and the time of renewed faith in Jesus Christ, who is our King and God. When we turn to the Lord with firm faith, Christ enters our hearts with love, and are souls are grounded in this love and we then love all men and desire their salvation. The beginning is faith and the end is love. By strengthening our faith we are able to do away with estrangement between Christ and ourselves, for the stronger our faith the closer we are to the Lord. By uniting with Christ we become filled with true happiness and immortality. Glory to God who gives us the joy of Pascha! Glory to God who sent His Only-begotten Son, who through Hid Pascha, gives is immortal life!