Resurrection & Rejoicing
“Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord” (John 20:20)
Tonight starts the joy of the resurrection, or rather say, we start tasting the eternal life for fifty days, as if they were a long Sunday; that’s why we do not fast on Wednesdays & Fridays during the holy fifty days, as we live in the Sunday ceremonials till the feast of the Pentecost. Sundays in the mindset of the church means the new life, this we learned from the Holy Bible; (Sunday) is the eighth day, the new day, the first & the last day; it is the entering of the true comfort… to the new promised land that follows the bitterness of slavery.
While the people of God needed the Passover lamb to exit Egypt, we need the True Lamb to enter to the eternity “For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” (1 Corinthians 5:7).
And when we come to The Church (the heavenly shadow) we rejoice, then we feel sorry when leaving. We well perceive that nothing stands against our permanent stay (in Heaven) except our physical death. Therefore we do not fear it for “to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)
The joy we started tasting today, resembles that of someone whose debts were paid, and was saved from prison, after being imprisoned for losing the wealth that his father had deposited him, so the man is kept suffering in prison. From time to time someone comes to assure him that another will come to save him from his imprisonment. Until that day came, when a man came and paid off all his debts, moreover took him back to his home, or better say, his new palace. This is the difference between human justice and Divine justice, the former seeks what is just and execution of the sentence only, while the Divine justice returns (man) back to a better status.
The essence of resurrection is to defeat death, and (to gain) the eternal life. Adam was in the undead status before he fell, but through the resurrection and redemption he came to the better life… Therefore when some people question: “why do we die?” We answer them that this death is what we call repose, sleep or transition; transferring us from one life to another; so if we do not repose we will stay in the same status. This explains why the martyrs were contemptuous of death.
This is the secret of resurrection… that’s why we chant this immortal hymn throughout the Holy Fifty Days: “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death,and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.”
Who shall rejoice the Resurrection?
There is no doubt (the joys of the Resurrection) is for those who have suffered with the Christ, “we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8: 17). But the joy does not just mean relieving hard fasting and worshiping to physical comfort, and setting the desires of our bodies free.
We find the tunes of joy in the hymn of “Pek-Ethronos” (Holy Friday), and also some tunes of sorrow in Greek hymn “Christ is Risen” (The short hymn), also in the famous carol “He is truly risen” we find lamentation tunes. The concept of joy is very different from its essence and appearance together.
We rejoice when we think that Christ is sitting down on the right hand of the Majesty on high (Hebrews 1: 3), and will come to take us to live with him. We rejoice because the human dilemma, the original sin will die. That there is an unlimited credit of forgiveness the Lord has left us in the sacrament of repentance and confession, and because the Lord has given us how to trimph over the world and the devil and sin, where he had defeated them all on our behalf, we rejoice because he is our God and Savior, and we are his beloved people (He is the Lover of mankind).
Therefore I advise you to pertain in the Holy Fifty Days and do not appear like material people but be very rational in everything. Let your joy be spiritual, and do not lose everything that you have gained during the holy Lent and Pascha during the first days after the Resurrection. Enjoy reading and studying the Gospel of St. John, who looped the human soul in the sky, and you will find majority of the church readings during the holy Fifty days quoted from it.
Discipline yourselves in food, appearance and behavior, making your joy in the Lord more than anything else…
Translated by Christine AbdElmessih