O people, let us
brilliantly shine! Pascha, the Lord’s Pascha!
For Christ our God has out of death passed
us over into life, and likewise from earth
to heaven, as we now sing unto Him a
– Katavasies of Pascha, Ode 1
Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord,
The message of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the Good News which we proclaim and live each day of our lives. The message of the defeat and the destruction of death is a profound one, one which assures us that no matter what the conflict, what the ailment, what the challenge or tragedy that exists in the world, the Lord will emerge victorious, and we with Him.
We carry this Good News with us everywhere we go during Pascha and Bright Week. Many of us bring our Paschal candle home and make the sign of the Cross each year on our doorways, demonstrating that we live in a Christian home. Within the Church, priests are fully vested in white all week long, regardless of what service is being celebrated (in the Old Country, the week after Pascha there was even a custom of priests wearing their vestments everywhere they went!).
The doors of the altar are left open, and the bay leaves thrown on Holy Saturday morning remain during the Easter period. All Orthodox Christians bask in the glow of the Easter vigil after we leave the church and reenter our everyday life. Truly, the Resurrection permeates every area of our life if we allow it to.
Our community, which has existed in its present day site for nearly five decades and has been looking to grow into a bigger site for nearly as long, is experiencing its own Resurrection joy this year, as well! At the time of this writing, the special general assembly on March 20 voted to proceed to make an offer a new site in Livermore. We have yet to receive approval from the bank on a potential loan, nor have we made a formal offer yet, but we have voted, as a community, to move forward and build!
Truly, the light of the Resurrection, the light of the empty tomb which found the angels sitting at the head and feet of the stone (John 20:12), the light of the empty tomb which has permeated the hearts and minds of our people for the past fifty years has brought us once again to a milestone moment in our community’s history.
It is not any one individual who has brought us to this point, but the Holy Spirit Himself Who guides us and brings us to where He wants us to be, both for the glory of God and for the good of His people. This is truly a day of celebration, when we believe that the light which has brought us so much joy will be spread into the hearts of many others who long for God and search for a spiritual home.
This Paschal season, let us indeed be thankful for all the gifts the Lord has given us, not the least of which is a beautiful spiritual sanctuary, but most of all, the gift of eternal life. It is this message which separates Christianity, and Orthodox Christianity, in particular, from all other faiths, and what separates us as a community. Let us thank God for the Good News of His Resurrection. May this same message of the destruction of evil and the annihilation of death guide and lead us as we take the next steps in our community’s future, and our lives as Orthodox Christians.
Χριστος Ανεστη! Αληθως Ανεστη!
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
With love in the Risen Lord,
Father Niko Bekris