Thursday, June 09, 2005


Yesterday we sang "Christ is Risen" for the last time this year. It felt strange: I had gotten so enveloped in the Paschal period, that the thought of going to church and not singing the quintessential resurrectional hymn. So, my thoughts.

First, this year it was a renewed experience: I was back in an Orthodox environment for the first time in years. In previous years, I would meet Orthodox people on a scattered basis and greeting them with "Christ is Risen" was something I looked forward to. Here, I noticed myself slipping and I had to remind myself that we were in the Paschal period. As time went by, the habit started coming back, but it was a rather unexpected struggle.

Second, the departure from the Paschal period was a sudden reminder of the abnormality, if I may use the world, of the world. Within the Paschal period, illumined by the Resurrection, I felt at home. There was a joy and peacefulness that pervaded the services, even at those times when I was at my most tired. But we are not there yet. We still live in the world; we still have to deal with the consequences of the fall; we are still called to share in the work of Christ and to transform the ourselves and the world. At some point I read (it may have been in one of Fr. Schmemann's books, but I am not certain) that the kingdom of heaven is present (thought not fully) in history because of Christ's incarnation and resurrection. History is being led to the kingdom. It sounded strange: it 'fit' within the theology of the Church, but I couldn't see it. I think that is beginning to change: this year I could feel the joy of the Resurrection as a window into heaven; a glimpse of the heaven that is among us.

Finally, there is the Church of Jerusalem, where "Christ is Risen" (if my memory serves me right) is sung every Sunday. In a way, I wish I were a part of that. Then again, maybe there is something to be said the reminder that comes with only hearing that part of the year: we are not there yet.


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