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Archive for April 13th, 2020

COLLECT OF THE DAY

O God, in the paschal feast You restore all creation. Continue to send Your heavenly gifts upon Your people that they may walk in perfect freedom and receive eternal life; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

READINGS: Exodus 15:1-18 or Daniel 12:1c-3; Psalm 100; Acts 10:34-43 or 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8; Luke 24:13-49

Introduction: The Eastern Orthodox Churches have a great custom by calling the first week of the Paschal (Easter) Season “Bright Week”.  A great way to begin the 50 Days of Pascha leading to Pentecost, as we look at what our risen Lord taught His Church for her life and mission into the world.   Easter, like Christmas, is not only a day each, but  a season each.

Generally speaking, it is hard to put the put the adjective “Bright” in front of Monday as it seems an oxymoron especially after all the typical celebrations of Easter Sunday.  It also is hard in this time of covid and quarantine, when we are separated from our brothers and sisters in Christ, our neighbors, and family.  This time is hard but the powers and principalities, the ruler of this world, are making this time strange:  by the use of now petty dictatorial actions, for instance, forbidding Christians in various places even from worshiping in their cars. We have never kept the Easter excitement going, nor can we make ourselves bright in our souls,  as we should not  as we cannot. We ask of the Lord, In what ways, can the brightness of  Your eternal Life, shine around and through us? It is not our spiritual highs, the emotions that are the source of our life, but the risen Lord Jesus Christ!  

The fortieth day after Easter, or Pascha, the Lord ascended into heaven and during these 40 days when the risen Lord appeared to the 530, He, the Good Shepherd, was seeking His own and finding the lost. He was teaching them and comforting them. He came with no condemnation but His Body and Blood for their salvation. His Body and Blood, the Word made flesh, the Word crucified and risen alone keeps us going. Sometimes on a Monday morning, and in this time, simply afloat.  We need His Word as daily bread every day. Read the Bible. Pray. Converse and console and counsel each other.  Call up friends and family. You are probably doing most of that and so this is encouragement. 

Further, as Lent is time of preparation for seekers to be Baptized, then the Paschal Season is a time for the newly baptized, and the ‘oldly’ baptized as well, to be instructed in the Way of the Lord more fully.  St. Basil the Great wrote it well regarding Baptism in Christ Jesus’ death and resurrection:

“This is what it means to be born again of water and Spirit: the water accomplishes our death, while the Spirit raises us to life… If there is any grace in the water, it does not come from the nature of the water, but from the Spirit’s Presence (in the Word of God, His Name: Father, Son and Holy Spirit)* since baptism is not a removal of dirt from the body, but an appeal to God for a clear conscience (1 Peter 3: 21)  The Lord describes in the Gospel the pattern of life we must be trained to follow after the (baptismal) resurrection: gentleness, endurance, freedom for the defiling love of pleasure, and from covetousness. We must be determined to, acquire in this life all the qualities of the life to come. To define the Gospel as a description of what resurrectional life should be like seems to be correct and appropriate, as far as I am concerned.”  (On the Holy Spirit by St. Basil the Great; emphasis my own)  *Added by me

Almighty God, by the glorious resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ,  You destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light.Grant that we who have been raised with Him may abide in His presence and rejoice in the hope of eternal glory; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord,who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,one God, now and forever.

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