“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your sting?
O hades, where is your victory?”
Christ is Risen and new life is granted to all!”
The Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ changed history forever. This event ushered in the most incredible revolution that humankind has ever witnessed. The radical events of Holy Week and Pascha give a resounding response to the great mystery of evil and death itself!
We can study human history and see much suffering and pain throughout the centuries. We can also look around in our contemporary society, and although we see progress in certain areas, we also realize that some things haven’t changed at all with the passage of thousands of years. Despite any technological advances that have happened in society, suffering and death continue to exist.
This past year we have even seen how random death can be with the more than 500,000 deaths that have come from the pandemic. Many people fear because anyone can get Covid and no one knows who will live and who will die if they get the virus.
With the entrance of our Lord Jesus Christ into the world however, and especially through His Passion, Death and Resurrection, a resounding response has been given to the worst of all the evil in the world. Satan and all his evil influence no longer have the final say in our lives! Death itself does not have the final word. NO! Christ is Risen, and death is ultimately defeated. Christ is Risen and the devil, with all his darkness, can no longer maintain his grip on humanity. Christ is Risen and the promise of a new life is offered to all humanity, a new life beginning here and now!
As St. John Chrysostom said most beautifully, “Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free! Death and hell itself have been angered and annihilated!”
One of the hymns from Holy Saturday’s Resurrection Service puts it this way,
“Today Hades lets out a groan. My power is swallowed up! The shepherd was crucified but raised up Adam. All I ruled over is lost; all I was able to consume in my power I have spewed out. The Crucified One has emptied the graves. The sway of death is no more!”
As followers of Jesus Christ, we know that if we walk with our Lord in this life, He will walk with us throughout the challenges and struggles of this life, AND He will walk with us into the next life. Nothing is greater than the divine love of God, and thus, nothing can separate us from that love, including the evil of this world and death itself.
As St. Paul writes, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Jesus who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)
As we celebrate these joyous holy days and re-live the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us never forget the profound significance this event should play in our lives! We can and should live with no fear of death! Our Lord calls us to be filled with the joy and power of His Resurrection. We should never allow anything in our lives, including any unexpected or unfortunate event, make us forget about the joy and wonder, the power and knowledge of Christ Resurrection, and the implications it has for our own lives!
Last year the pandemic closed our churches and only a few people were able to celebrate these holy days in church. As more and more people get vaccinated, I’m seeing more people come back to church. I hope that this year I will see many of you at the various services, especially during our services celebrating Pascha!
May we all experience in a vibrant and renewed way the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and live each day with the Spirit of this Risen Lord dwelling richly in us!
Christ is Risen!!! Christos Anesti!
Krishti u Ngjall! Vertete u Ngjall!
Hristos a Inviat! Khristos Voskriese!
With joy and love in our Risen Lord,