I confess that it’s with great difficulty that I’ll now begin to speak about the celebration of Bright Week – after all, we’re having this talk before Pascha. So I fear that my mouth will begin to water and that I’ll be very tempted to say “Time, forward!” in order to hasten the march of hours and of history. But one of the most important things in church life is the ability to live now, not hurrying up time, appreciating every moment there is.
In spite of this, I do have one promise. If you’re unable to enjoy the service of Pascha night – things happen, one might for instance have small children at home – then remember that the Paschal service, including the procession, is repeated all week, only in the morning instead of at night.
During this week the Church forgets how to read. Like kids, on these days we can only sing. All week long the services are sung. And after the Liturgy there will be a procession around the church that is in some ways even more solemn than that of the Paschal night, since we carry a special kind of blessed bread: the artos.
I think that for people of the male gender, and especially for younger ones, these Paschal processions can be a kind of career test. Judge for yourself. Once, when I was still a shy parishioner, I came to such a service. And suddenly, after the Liturgy, an altar server emerged from the altar at an odd time. He didn’t run, as is usual under such circumstances, somewhere in the direction of the candle table, paying no mind to the parishioners. This time, to the contrary, he walked along slowly, looking us over. And when he got to me, he suddenly said: “Go into the altar.”
That’s how I first ended up in the altar, not knowing how it would all end.
In the altar they told me: “Get a sticharion and put it on. You’re going in the procession, and you’ll be carrying such-and-such a banner or icon.” Then, for the first time in my life, I found myself, perfectly out of the blue, vested in a sticharion. It felt as if something were itching under my shoulders, as if wings were about to pop out. My soul felt very, very much at ease – here was something that was mine. I hadn’t even dared dream of this, and now suddenly…
This strikes me as important for a young person. In such moments you have a look, and you suddenly discover something completely different in and about yourself. How would you take it in if you were offered to participate in such a procession? If your body and soul react cheerfully to such a novel idea, then think about it. Perhaps this is Divine Providence for you. How long can you sit around on your hands? Perhaps you have a different fate and a different calling!
Translated from the Russian.