Spiritual Enrichment: May-August 2014
Every year in Orthodox parishes throughout the world, the lights are dimmed, leaving us to wait in darkness and anticipation. These few minutes, which often seem much longer, are endurable because we know what is to come. We see the flicker of the eternal vigil on the altar cast upward onto the ceiling behind the iconostasis, and await the opening of the curtain to the joyful pronouncement of, ‘Come Receive the Light.’ As the church is quickly illumined by the lighting of our Paschal candles, we experience the joy of our Lord’s Glorious Resurrection! With our candles lit, we exit the church, going out like the Disciples and Apostles, proclaiming ‘Christ is Risen’!
I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. John 12:46
However, there seems to be something about sitting silently in darkness that makes us uneasy… So, why does the dark make us uneasy? Perhaps, it reminds us of the darkness that is written of in Genesis 1:2; that nothingness that existed before God created the world. Perhaps, it is a reminder of the darkness of the tomb in which Christ’s body was laid. Or, perhaps, it is a reminder of our own mortality, and the consequences of our own sinful human nature.
Yet, we wait in the darkness, knowing that the Resurrection will be proclaimed! Our Lord’s sacrifice on our behalf has offered salvation to the world… to you and to me! The cross, once a symbol of death has been transformed into the symbol of Life! As we raise our voices in song, we proclaim to the world that death no longer has any power over us. For Christ has defeated death!
Christ is Risen from the dead,
By death trampling down upon death,
And, to those in the tombs, He has granted Life!
Jesus, our Savior, has brought the Light into the world, and the darkness has been illuminated so that we may see the Truth! We, as partakers of the divine Light, having received it from Christ, must allow this Light of Christ to shine brightly within us. For in nurturing the Light of Christ, and exclaiming it in word and deed to those around us, we allow His Light to shine forth to others, that through the Holy Spirit, they may turn from darkness to light.
Scripture Passage: John 1:1-14
Additional Reading: Acts 26:13-18
Prayer: Dear God, we thank you for Christ, the Light of the World.
The Guest Author is Gregory Tsikerdanos who is a fourth-year student in the Master of Divinity Program at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. He and his wife, Tara, have been married for 9 years and are from the community of Sts. Raphael, Nicholas and Irene in Cumming, GA. They have a daughter, Anna, who is 8 years old; a son, Andrew, who is 2-1/2 years old; and Eleni, who is 1-year old.