Christos Anesti! Alithos Anesti!
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

Having just celebrated Holy Pascha, we have been filled with a great light – the Light of Jesus Christ. He has trampled down death once and for all transformed our lives forevermore. It is truly a joyous event and one we celebrate, not just one day, but for forty days until the feast of Ascension, which occurs on May 25th this year. With all of the energy and excitement of the past few weeks, I often find myself asking “what do I do now?” I find I want to just go back to life as it was before Great Lent began. But this is not what Christ wants for us. He has given us something unimaginable. To go back to our old lives would be to simply throw that away like a disposable plastic bag. Christ called His disciples (and us) to something greater and we are now in a time to make ready to do this.

He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” –Acts 1:4-5

He told the disciples to rest and wait for the Holy Spirit, which came upon them at Holy Pentecost. We have the luxury of not having to wait for it though. We have received the same Spirit by way of Chrismation and it lives in us. We can begin today!

The theme this year for Metropolis Clergy-Laity Assembly was “Let Your Light Shine!” It was an invitation for us to take the light we’ve received out into the world. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Mat 5:14-16 ) The light which we received at Pascha reignites that Spirit within each one of us, not for our own purpose, but that we may go out into the world and share it with all those around us.

The featured speaker at our Clergy-Laity Assembly this year, Katrina Bitar, spoke of what it looks like for our churches to have no walls. She asked how can we cultivate vibrant, intergenerational communities that are engaged with the greater community outside our doors? She challenged us to take the beauty of our faith out into the world and be living icons. She challenged us to look more closely at how Christ approached people – not seeking to fix or help them, but to listen first. Only after that does healing take place.

The reality of our situation rings true in one of the prayers from confession. The priest says to the penitent: “I have no power on earth to forgive sins, but God alone.” This doesn’t just apply to the priest, but to all of us. Our job is not to simply go out and gather more Christians, or grow our parish numbers or even to be moral compasses for the world. While we may be able to see some tangible gains in the short term, we don’t have the power to truly heal, which is the real aim of the Church. What we can do is to open ourselves to the opportunities to bring Christ to our brothers and sisters. When we approach everyone we meet with compassion and love we allow Him to heal the world around us and draw all of His children to His kingdom.