Monday, June 25, 2007

A hidden glory

Summer evening. The sun has set and the air is chilly. City sounds are around us: banging car doors, voices calling, traffic passing. We have listened to the Academy perform folk music for some time. Then we begin to sing, all of us together, Paschal* hymns. "Christ is Risen" in Japanese, in Yupik, in Georgian (the country, not the state).

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tomb bestowing life.
And finally, the triumphal hymn to the Theotokos: "The Angel Cried."

The angel cried to the lady full of grace: Rejoice, rejoice O pure Virgin! Again I say rejoice! Your Son is risen from His three days in the tomb. With Himself He has raised all the dead. Rejoice, rejoice, O ye people.

Shine, shine, shine O New Jerusalem! The glory of the Lord has shone on you. Exult, now exult and be glad O Zion. Be radiant, O pure Theotokos, in the Resurrection, the Resurrection of your Son.
And in that moment, as we together celebrate the glorious Resurrection here, in this city, in this time, we know that we are brothers and sisters in Christ. We sit in the backyard of the church united in fellowship while the world goes by around us. This is real. This is life.

*Pascha is the Orthodox term for Easter, deriving from the Hebrew word for Passover.

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