Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Light of Christ. The Light of Easter.

During the evening service, just before we all celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we enter the dark of the night. All Orthodox Churches switch of the lights of the Church building and sing: ‘Behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.’ All the faithful, then take the light given by the priest. Slowly slowly the whole Church is filled with light, the light of Christ, the light of Easter. This symbolises the message of the Risen Christ. St. Gregory the Theologian explains:

‘Yesterday I was crucified with Him; today I am glorified with Him; yesterday I died with Him; today I am quickened with Him; yesterday I was buried with Him; today I rise with Him. But let us offer to Him who suffered and rose again for us – you will think perhaps that I am going to say gold, or silver, or woven work or transparent and costly stones, or woven work or transparent and costly stones, the mere passing material of earth, that remains here below, and is for the most part always possessed by bad men, slaves of the world and of the Prince of the world. Les us offer ourselves, the possession most previous to God, and most fitting; let us give back to the Image what is made after the Image. Let us recognise our Dignity; let us honour our Archetype; let us know the power of the Mystery, and for what Christ died. 
Let us become like Christ, since Christ became like us. Let us become God’s for His sake, since he for ours became Man. He assumed the worse that He might give us the better; He became poor that we through His poverty might be rich; He took upon Him the form of a servant that we might receive back our liberty; He came down that we might be exalted; He was tempted that we might conquer; He was dishonoured that He might glorify us; He died that He might save us; He ascended that He might draw to Himself us, who were lying low in the Fall of sin. Let us give all, offer all, to Him who gave Himself a Ransom and a Reconciliation for us. But one can give nothing like oneself, understanding the Mystery, and becoming for His sake all that He became for ours.’[1]

[1] Gregory Nazianzen, On Easter and His Reluctance, Oration 1:4-5. 

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