May 2, 2020

PASCHA: Hymn of the Resurrection - Fr. Alexander Schmemann

On Easter we celebrate Christ’s Resurrection as something
that happened and still happens to us.
For each one of us received the gift of that new life 
and the power to accept it and live by it.
It is a gift which radically alters our attitude toward everything in this world,
including death.
It makes it possible for us joyfully to affirm:
“Death is no more!”
Oh, death is still there to be sure
and we still face it and someday it will come to take us.
But it is our whole faith that by His own death Christ changed the very nature of death,
made it a passage – a ‘passover’, a ‘Pascha’ - into the Kingdom of God,
transforming the tragedy of tragedies into the ultimate victory.
“Trampling down death by death”, He made us
partakers of His Resurrection.
This is why we say:”Christ is Risen and life reigneth!
Christ is Risen and not one dead remains in the grave!”
Such is the faith of the Church,
affirmed and made evident by her countless Saints.

In the center of the Church’s liturgical life, as its heart and climax,
as the sun whose rays penetrate everywhere, stands Pascha.
It is the door opened every year into the splendor of Christ’s Kingdom.
The foretaste of the eternal joy that awaits us, the glory of
the victory which already, although invisibly, fills the whole creation;
“death is no more!”
The entire worship of the Church is organized around Easter
and therefore the liturgical year becomes a journey, a pilgrimage 
towards Pascha, the End, which at the same time is the Beginning:
the end of all that which is ‘old’; the beginning of the new life,
a constant ‘passage’ from ‘this world’ into the 
Kingdom already revealed in Christ.

from Great Lent: Journey to Pascha by Fr. Alexander Schmemann

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