Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord,
Spring is once again upon us!
Upon first moving to the East Bay, this season quickly became my favorite time of year, most especially during our annual Pascha picnic. Each year we gather as a community in beautiful weather and celebrate the continuation of the Lord’s Resurrection through food, music, and fellowship. The campsite we typically gather at is often at Lake Chabot or somewhere else close to nature, where we see the beautiful changes that come with the season and feel the wonderful spring warmth. Spring is truly a season of renewal, a wonderful occasion, and a sight to behold.
Each year our Orthodox Church celebrates a “spring” in its liturgical life as well. The celebration of Pascha- the Lord’s Resurrection and triumph over sin and death- is reflected in this beautiful season for forty days after. Bay leaves fill the church, the colors go from reserved to very bright, and the church itself goes from dim to light! The amazing “Χριστος Ανεστη/Christ is Risen” apolytikion and other hymns of Pascha continue during this time as well, as the aesthetic and music of the church both change dramatically. This amazing time, the apex of our liturgical life, is a renewal for all of us, and even why Bright Week, the week immediately following Easter, is also frequently called “Renewal Week.”
Pascha is indeed a renewal for every human soul. In affirming what the Lord Himself went through for us – the Cross, the tomb, the Resurrection on the Third Day – we affirm how much He loved us and continues to love us. With the destruction of death, we are renewed and pledged to eternal life. This of course, applies to the next life, but also our life here on earth. We die to our passions and sins and recommit ourselves to following Christ through all He has done for us. As spring is for what we see in nature each year around us, so is the season of Pascha for all of us. It is the greatest renewal of soul and body which will ever be.
Wishing you and yours a blessed Pascha. Χριστος Ανεστη! Christ is Risen!
With love in the Risen Lord,
Father Nikolaos Bekris