“… just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
– Romans 6:4
Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord,
One of the things I love most about living in the East Bay is the weather.
I recall the day that my family and I came to look for houses in Castro Valley. It was autumn, and the foliage of the leaves had changed into spectacular hews of orange, yellow, and red, something I had not seen in San Francisco! As time passed, I enjoyed the winter and the summer as well, and especially the season which perhaps typifies this area most, the spring. Each season did bring its own character, and yet somehow the weather in this part of the Bay Area always seems to be hugging spring, coming closer and closer each day. It makes for wonderful feelings of renewal within my life, as I’m sure it does for all of us.
Another aspect which I love about beautiful spring weather is that it often coincides with Holy Pascha. After spending nearly fifty days in remembrance of the Lord’s sacrifice- His preaching, His passion, His death on the cross- we then celebrate the victory over death and triumph of life! Given that Easter tends to land each year in the spring, it is as if all creation celebrates His Resurrection with us (my mother was fond of saying her lilacs would bloom each year on Orthodox Easter, NOT on Western Easter!). There is something very appropriate about seeing blooming flowers, clear skies and warm weather, which allows us to celebrate the Lord’s feast outdoors each year!
This same feeling of renewal and beauty is something that we take with us each day of our lives as Orthodox Christians. In his letter to the Romans, Saint Paul likens our walk with God in our lives to the Lord’s Resurrection, saying that as He was raised, so too must we “walk in newness of life.” Whether we realize it or not, the newness of life we see all around us during spring is the same renewal which is within all baptized, chrismated members of the Body of Christ. When we are baptized, we become something more, a new creation, which blossoms in our hearts after the winter of the “old creation.” This spring continues when we pray, receive the sacraments, and are active in our relationship with God. He has allowed us already to participate in His death and Resurrection through our baptism, and the spring exists within us this very moment if we allow it to! It is the Lord who provides nature’s blossoms each spring, and it is the same Lord Who provides the blossoming of our soul as Christians every day of our lives.
Let us remember how much He loves us and wants us to experience this beautiful renewal during this season of the Resurrection and every day. Let us remember that He stands ready to help us in our challenging times and rejoice with us in good times as well out of His love for humankind. The Lord is Risen, indeed!
Χριστος Ανεστη! Christ is Risen!
With love in the Risen Lord,
With love in the Risen Lord,
Father Niko Bekris