by Fr. Don Hock
from The Word, April 1996
This powerful Paschal greeting contains the entire essence, depth and meaning of our Christian faith. "Christ is risen, and our sins are forgiven! Christ is risen, and death is destroyed! Christ is risen, and life is transfigured!" We exult and rejoice in these great truths, but do they make a difference in our lives? Is there a way to live personally as families, and as a parish in the light of Christ’s Holy Resurrection?
The Orthodox Church answers these questions with a thunderous and resounding "YES"! For we believe and cling to the fact that this unheard of victory over death actually changed every thing in the world - it transforms all of creation and makes it new. The early Christians called their faith not a religion, but the Good News, because they knew and believed that this resurrection of Christ was the source of powerful and transfigured lives. Likewise, we who rejoice and celebrate today in this Paschal season experience the reality of the living Christ Who has and is making us to be alive in Him. All the work that we are accomplishing, sharing the faith, celebrating the Mysteries of Salvation, baptizing and chrismating new Orthodox Christians, working together in various projects, sharing life with each other as one family in Christ .......this is the proof of the Resurrection in every healthy and active Orthodox Christian community throughout the world. The living resurrected Christ in our midst continues to transform us as individuals, as families, and as a network of families (our parish community) to become in even greater fullness what we already are — His Body here on earth, the extension of His Incarnation in the flesh.
This is who we are and our lives should reflect our identity. The power and presence of the living Christ should be seen in the way we conduct our personal lives —the way we pray and worship; the way we work and use our time and talents; the way we treat others and relate to them. The risen Christ should also be viewed in our families — the way parents love and care for each other and their children; the way children honor, respect and obey their parents. Finally, the power of the Resurrection should be prevalent in our parish — the way families and individuals believe the best about one another; the way we together trust God for the direction and vision He gives to His Holy Church; the way we truly love one another and see Christ in each other.
The power, the evidence, the proof of the resurrection — it all begins with you and me as we embrace the Risen Christ and allow Him to do His work in our lives. May the joys of this Pascha season radiate through us all as we faithfully live in the glorious splendor of the Holy Resurrection of our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ. "Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen!"
Great Martyr George - April 23
As the deliverer of captives and the protector of the poor, as the physician of the feeble and combatant of kings, holy champion and great martyr George, intercede with Christ our God to save our souls.
Kontakion of St. George, Tone 4
Thou wast cultivated by God and didst become a most wonderful cultivator of piety, and didst harvest for thyself the sheaves of virtue, for having sown in tears thou didst reap in joy and having withstood to death thou art garnered for Christ. By thy intercessions, O Saint, thou dost obtain for us all remission of our sins.