Easter has just passed and we have all survived. Last week, we blogged about our memories of Easters past, and I am positive that each of you has a funny story about eating magiritsa, burning someone’s hair with a candle in church, your own way to cheat in cracking red Easter eggs (personally, Evan KARA… ntee, I think a quick, unsuspected wacke is also a good technique!), or your own personal story of “Larry, the Easter Lamb” (you have to read my post to understand that reference).
However, all of the jokes and funny stories set aside, the Greek Orthodox Pascha season has the most beautiful religious services of our faith, especially Holy Week. From the given of the Palms on Palm Sunday, to receiving holy oil on Wednesday and recognizing our transgressions and repenting, to Good Friday and the procession of the Epitafio, to the climax of Pascha, Saturday midnight and the Anastasi – the Resurrection. It is truly inspirational.
On Saturday afternoon, I was at my daughter’s softball game and talking to some of the other parents when one of my friends said, “Happy Easter. I understand the Greek Easter is this week.” I smiled and told him yes and that we were going to midnight church services that evening. He rolled his eyes and said, “Done that, been there.” He laughed, and added, “You know, Jesus rises… again? He does it every year.” I thought about what he said, and although I laughed too, his comment struck a chord. Christ does rise each year, but are we attending church services to see a “show?” No, we are there to acknowledge the true foundation of our faith… the Resurrection of our Lord. We, as Greek Orthodox Christians, through our Lord, have triumphed over death. This is a very earth shattering ideal and the basis of our Greek Orthodox faith, which I will have V. Rev. Nektarios Cottros explain in more detail in his blogs – I leave it to the experts!
Of course, there is the pageantry of the various church services, but as weak individuals, we need a visual assistance in re-enacting what Jesus had gone through leading up to his crucifixion and the Resurrection, and to remind us of his sacrifices to benefit us.
When you attended the Anastasi services I am positive you looked around and saw mothers trying to control their children; Church board members passing the tray around for donations and selling candles (our churches truly need the money to keep the doors open so don’t forget to give), or, you saw many parishioners standing outside catching up with some friends not paying attention to what was going on. Others were just “zoned out” because they have fasted so long and are ready to pass out! So, you asked yourself, why are we here?
Going back to what my good friend said, “You know, Jesus rises… again? He does it every year” is the answer. Whether we come to church and look around, talk to others, or pray, in the end, the Resurrection happened and will always happen and it will always be the foundation of our Greek Orthodox faith. We just need to be reminded of it each year and hopefully we carry it in our hearts throughout the year until, again, we are reminded of it next Easter.
Christos Anesti… Alithos Anesiti!
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