Sunday, May 01, 2005

Pascha

It is 8:30 AM Sunday morning. About four hours ago the last member of our entire Mission trickled out our front door. We began the Mission on Meatfare Sunday and have travelled Lent together, built liturgical furnishings, learned new music, endured opposition and naysaying, met new people, formed a parish council, embraced a new jurisdiction and our new Bishop, set up, took down the Church every weekend, did reader's services every other weekend, manned our posts through family crises, puking kids, demanding businesses, kid's gymnastics and karate classes, and Grandpa's downward spiral into total helplessness. We arrived at our chapel at 9:30 last night, exhausted, apprehensive about choir, music, rubrics and kids. Father Damian intoned his first prayer at 11:00 and the Spirit descended. Or perhaps we ascended. Whichever it was, we entered the timelessness and otherness of the kingdom. The light shone in the darkness and the darkness of all the human frailty that laid the path for the beginning of this new Mission did not overcome it.

The hours between 9:30pm and 4:30am last night were only matched by the first Pascha we had 5 years ago in another Mission we had begun with dear friends. It was the taste of new wine that I have never forgotten but hadn't tasted since.

It has been too long since I've experienced the inexpressible joy and sense of the triumph of the resurrection, the communion of the saints, the holiness of the 8th day, the glory of the Church and the taste of the sweet fruit of the labor of Lent. For the first time in years Pascha was a bright flame of glory and a resurrection of my spirit and not a dimly burning candle of wistful hope for something more.

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

3 comments:

Grace said...

Great post, as always.

Funny you mention previous disappointing Paschas and this less-than-disappointing one. That was my experience too. Not that two people constitute a trend, but considering that it's such a happy trend, maybe we can pretend we do. ;-)

Sorry to hear about all your trials (literally, I guess, huh?) and tribulations. L'chaiim and all that.

Philippa said...

The hope and joy of Christ is always present whether we "feel" it or not. But you and I know that. Nonetheless, I am glad your Pascha was extra special Rdr. Steven-Paul. :-)

Meg said...

Christ is risen! Truly He is risen! Congratulations on your ordination to Reader, and don't knock it -- it's an important part of the Russian Orthodox heritage.

If you ever get out from under the work load, I'd be interested to hear more about how you started up this mission, something I have yet to manage -- and we could do with a Russian parish in these parts.