Come, receive the light

Daily Reading for April 7 • Tikhon, Patriarch of Russia, Confessor and Ecumenist, 1925

‘Come, receive the light!’

With these words, the entire church, previously waiting in darkness, lights up in splendour. People’s faces shine. It is Easter midnight. The night said to be brighter than any day. Everyone, young and old, whether born into or received into the Orthodox faith, knows by heart the chant that will be repeated over forty days,the song that colours the yearly cycle: ‘Christ is risen from the dead.’ In an age when we look for ways and moments to celebrate life, Easter marks the feast of feasts. . . .

The cross is indeed the final word. In the paradox of the cross, problems and difficulties do not disappear. They simply appear in a new light. They are appreciated in a new perspective. We know differently. They are perceived in the light of the final age that is to come. We understand that, through them and beyond them all, there exists the invincible power of Christ’s crucified love. The light of the cross is stronger than any darkness in the world.

The Greek word for Easter, Pascha, derives from the Hebrew meaning ‘passover’. The crucifixion and the resurrection are a ‘passing over’ from survival to fullness of life, and from mere life to life in abundance. The tomb of Christ was not empty. It was open! It remains for us an open invitation.

The thunderous response to the Easter greeting is: ‘Christ is truly Risen!’

From Light Through Darkness: The Orthodox Tradition by John Chyrssavgis (Orbis, 2004).

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