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Archive for the ‘Pascha’ Category

We are in the Paschal season – the time between Christ’s triumphant resurrection and Pentecost.  It is fitting to remember what occurred during this time among the apostles and the disciples of Christ.  My thanks to Handmaid Leah for posting this quote on her blog, Christ is in Our Midst!

“What we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands—We proclaim now to you” (1 St. John 1:1).

Behold, such is the apostolic preaching! The apostles do not speak as worldly sages, nor like philosophers and even less as theoreticians who make suppositions about something in order to discover something. The apostles speak about things which they have not sought but which unexpectedly surrounded them; about the fact which they did not discover but, so to speak, unexpectedly found them and seized them. They did not occupy themselves with spiritual researches nor have they studied psychology, neither did they, much less, occupy themselves with spiritism. Their occupation was fishing – one totally experiential physical occupation. While they were fishing, the God-Man [Jesus] appeared to them and cautiously and slowly introduced them to a new vocation in the service of Himself. At first, they did not believe Him but they, still more cautiously and slowly with fear and hesitation and much wavering, came toward Him and recognized Him. Until the apostles saw Him many times with their own eyes and until they discussed Him many times among themselves and, until they felt Him with their own hands, their experienced fact is supernatural but their method of recognizing this fact is thoroughly sensory and positively learned. Not even one contemporary scholar would be able to use a more positive method to know Christ. The apostles saw not only one miracle but numerous miracles. They heard not only one lesson but many lessons which could not be contained in numerous books. They saw the resurrected Lord for forty days; they walked with Him, they conversed with Him, they ate with Him, and they touched Him. In a word: they personally and first handedly had thousands of wondrous facts by which they learned and confirmed one great fact, i.e., that Christ is the God-Man, the Son of the Living God, the Man-loving Savior of mankind and the All-Powerful Judge of the living and the dead.

O Resurrected Lord confirm us in the faith and ardor of Your Holy Apostles.

~St Nikolai Velimirovic

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Something that increasingly bothered me during my many years in evangelical churches was the emphasis on only two spiritual events: Christmas and Easter.  Granted, there were attempts to try and connect the two theologically, but experientially Christmas evoked thoughts of joy and peace and Easter focused on sorrow, the promise of forgiveness of sins and eternal life.  One had to kind of gear up for the emotions of two very different celebrations.

One of the bloggers I read on a weekly basis (A Catechumen’s Tale) helped me understand this rather fragmented view of Christ’s life and the dangers therein.  His posting was the result of an observation that many times the second verse is omitted from the well loved Christmas carol, “What Child Is This?”, because it contains reference to the Cross, nails and a spear.  Here is an excerpt:

This latter point – the removal of the second part – seems to be the most common change made to the carol. One can only wonder why this is…perhaps the most obvious is, at the risk of drawing a hasty conclusion, the inclusion of the description of the crucifixion. One rarely hears of nails and spears piercing someone through in a Christmas song. I was originally going to focus this post entirely on the carol and the second part, but my mind (as it often does) began to wander around the point, and I began to think harder on this issue. Namely, how we seem to focus solely on one aspect of our Blessed Lord’s life.

Just as we must believe in the fullness of Christ, so must we believe in the fullness of our Lord’s time on earth. We cannot divide it into isolated incidents, for in focusing on one we lose the affect of all the others. For example, if we focus on our Lord’s Incarnation, we turn Him into a happy Christmas story. If we focus on our Lord’s ministry, we turn Him into just another friendly man with helpful advice. If we focus on our Lord’s passion, we devalue His pain and suffering to the point where even a monkey could die on the cross for our salvation. If we focus on our Lord’s Resurrection, then Christ serves no greater purpose than Lazarus.

The fullness of Christ is the fullness of His life. He was the Incarnate Word born into our sinful flesh, Who lived a pure and blessed life, Who suffered as the sacrificial lamb, and Who rose again to free us from the death that separated us from God. Due to our natural habit of thinking in limited terms, it’s quite easy to fall into the trap of limiting our acknowledgment of Christ’s life. Doing so, however, limits our understanding of Christ. If we forget the crucifixion at Easter, it’s only easy enough for us to forget it at Christmas.

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