Indeed He is Risen!
One week. Twelve services. In the past three days, more than 16 hours standing in the choir.
Black vestments and altar cloths changed to white. Joy from sorrow. From death to life.
This is the Resurrection. Let us be illumined oh you people. The Son is risen from His three days in the tomb.
We began the Paschal service at 11:30 p.m. We ended at 2:30 a.m. But until about 1:30, I had been completely unaware of time. My feet were tired, my back hurt and I was singing my lungs out. However, I was not in the little nave at Holy Assumption Russian Orthodox Church in Canton, Ohio. I was along the shores of the sea. I was watching Jonah spat from the belly of the whale. I was in Babylon, with the three holy youths. I heard Isaiah call out and with great excitement I sang: “the dead shall arise.”
Then, in the darkness, I was at the tomb. I was walking with the myrrh-bearing women. I was mourning with Mary.
But I saw a great light. The earth shook, the lights flickered and the Son of God arose, having trampled down death, having conquered hell and made a way back to the Father for us.
With great joy I sang the favorite hymn of so many Orthodox Christians:
The Angel cried out to the lady full of grace, “Rejoice, O most pure virgin. Again I say, ‘Rejoice!’
Your Son is risen after three days in the tomb. With Himself He has raised all the dead. Rejoice, ye people!”
Shine, shine, O new Jerusalem! The glory of the Lord has shone on you.
Exult and be glad, O Zion!
I wept at the chalice, something I have never done before, as I received communion in the bright light of Pascha. I could not believe how great a love our God has for us to have given us this, the gift of His son.
I could not wait for heaven.