2008 05 - If It Were to Happen Today...

“Tomb Empty! Authorities Questioned. Facts Sketchy. Conspiracy Suspected. ”

            Christ is Risen! Can you imagine what the headlines would say if the resurrection were to happen today? Would it be a big deal in the media? Would it be met with scepticism and disbelief? Two thousand years ago the resurrection of Christ changed history – the majority of the world now uses a calendar that until recent years counted the years in “A.D.” – “Anno Domani - “the year of the Lord.” Late last century (20th century), that suffix got changed to “C.E.”, or “Common Era”. Nonetheless, the calendar counts the time since Jesus lived on earth.

            I wonder if “C.E.” means “Common Error”... Maybe if we re-write history we won’t have to be accountable to a supreme being called “God”, Who holds us responsible for how we treat His Son.

            No matter what else is happening this month (proms, graduations, Mother’s Day, etc.), the fact remains that for Orthodox Christians world-wide, the entire month of May will be spent witnessing and celebrating the Resurrection of Christ! The doors in the Icon Screen remain open, we sing, “Christ is Risen” <<Χριστὸς ̓Ανέστη>>, the priest raises a lighted candle at every service this month reminding us of the light of Christ coming out from the open tomb. Forty days of celebration until the Ascension of Christ (celebrated on June 5 this year), and then ten more days of anticipation until the birthday of the Christian Church - Pentecost.

            Who else honors the resurrection of Christ in such a magnificent manner? In fact, if you were to take all the days in the Orthodox church calendar that we as Orthodox Christians use to prepare for the crucifixion of Christ, and then celebrate His resurrection from the dead, His ascension into heaven, and the coming of the Holy Spirit, you would find that we spend more than one-third of the entire year honoring this special time in the life of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, and His provision for our salvation!

            Why does The Orthodox Church spend so much time each and every year keeping her spiritual children focused on this cycle of preparation and celebration? Maybe it is to remind us how valuable the gift of salvation in Christ is. Maybe it is to remind us that we can never take our salvation for granted. Maybe it is to remind us that we have a responsibility to share this gift with the rest of the world, so they won’t forget...

            In chapter 2 of the letter to the Hebrews, St. Paul shares the following: (Heb 2:1-4)

Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?

            Who else honors the resurrection of Christ like our Church? Maybe they would if we did. If each of us were to seriously and honestly honor God as our Orthodox faith directs us, then this special time of the year would be reflected through us to the rest of the world. We might even see the “Common Error” corrected as the rest of the world was reminded that the “Year of our Lord” is this year, as our salvation is timeless! The month of May is the opportunity for us as Orthodox Christians to fulfill Matthew 5:16,"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

            May your footsteps this month be blessed with the Light of Christ. And may the world take notice...