Feast of Pascha

Archbishop Seraphim : Homily
Taking Christ’s life-giving Love seriously
Feast of Pascha
27 April, 2008
Acts 1:1-8 ; John 1:1-17

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Christ is risen !

That we use many languages during the services of Pascha has an important motivating point : the Gospel of the Death and Resurrection of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ is for everyone on God’s earth, in every language, in every place, in every age. In service books, we can often find the Holy Gospel for Pascha written out in many of these languages, so that they can be read even if the deacon or priest does not himself understand all the languages being read. This Good News is for everyone. Earlier during the Divine Liturgy, when we are singing the Trisagion or its replacement, it has become my custom to say the citations from the Psalms in more than one language. I have been trying to increase the number of languages that I am using, because it is good for people to hear the words of the Lord in their own languages from time to time in this sea of English. Because I forgot to do more than the usual three tonight, there are three other languages : Greek, Romanian, and Finnish, that I can manage, and I will repeat the Psalm in your hearing : “Lord, Lord, look down from heaven, and behold this vine which Your right hand has planted, and establish it” (Psalm 79:15). This is what the citation is from the Psalms, but it is also a prayer that the bishop says when he is serving. It is important that we are hearing this in various languages, as we have sung “Christ is risen” already in many languages. We are asking our Lord to renew us, to enliven us, to enable us to live His Resurrection more and more.

The Gospel is given to everyone, as our Saviour said. The light of Christ is shining in the darkness. The darkness does not overcome it. The Gospel is for everyone. The love of God is for everyone. Our ability to share some words of the love of God in all these languages is an expression of this. The love of God is for everyone whatever their language, whatever their colour, whatever their shape or size or anything else.

We all are created in God’s image, and the light of Christ shining in us enables us to be like Him in His love, which is patient far beyond our comprehension, far beyond our understanding. His love endures throughout all sorts of back-sliding, back-biting, back-turning from you and from me. His love still remains constant, and faithful towards us, whom He created out of His love.

The Resurrection of Christ is our hope. It is also our resurrection. Christ rose from the dead. Christ overthrew death. Christ conquered sin. Everything that we have set up as a barrier between ourselves and God, He has overcome by His life-giving, life-creating love.

It is for you and for me, celebrating this great Feast, the greatest of them all, to take the love of the Lord seriously, and to let Him take our hand, just as He is taking the hand of Adam and Eve which we see in the icon. It is for us to take His hand also, and to allow Him to pull us up out of our darkness, out of our weakness, out of our brokenness, out of our rebellion, and out of our lostness. It is for us to allow Him to draw us into His life, into His Kingdom.

Here, today, we are standing in His Kingdom. We do not just think we are standing in His Kingdom, we are standing in His Kingdom, worshipping the Lord all together. We are rejoicing in His Kingdom with all the saints, with those who have gone before us, with all our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children, and with everyone else who has gone before us. We are here together with them all, glorifying our Saviour, together with the angels, even. We are glorifying our Saviour, worshipping Him with all our hearts, giving thanks to Him for His love.

Let us ask the prayers of all those who have gone before us, so that the Lord will renew our love in Him, and that He will give us the strength to follow Him faithfully. Like them, may we grow up in Him, so that with them, we may for eternity be ready to grow in the love of our Saviour, and glorify the all-holy Trinity : Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now, and ever, and unto the ages of ages.