The Resurrection Makes Trials Worthwhile

mp3 Audio:  Fr_Joseph-The_Resurrection_Makes_Trials_Worthwhile.mp3


This sermon was preached on by Father Joseph Gleason Pascha (Resurrection Sunday), April 12, 2015 at Christ the King Orthodox Church in Omaha, Illinois.

Transcription by Maria Powell of Dormition Text Services


Resurrection


In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Our God is One. 

In one sense, Holy Week is tough. Isn’t it? There are so many services day after day, often more than one in a day. Many hours! Most of you here faithfully attended every single service, and the number of hours you have given to prayer and to worship this week have been in the double digits and then some.

Holy Week disrupts your work schedule. Some here have even taken off vacation days just so they could get to all the services. In doing so, some have missed pay.

It disrupts your life schedule. Things that you would normally do at certain times, like, say, sleep, you don’t do because you’re at the Holy Week services. You miss sleep because of the late-night services, and the all-night prayer vigil.

It’s tough emotionally. Day after day, you’re focusing on the mocking, the scourging, the death, the Crucifixion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, which is the greatest crime mankind has ever committed. It’s emotionally very heavy to focus on the humiliation and torture of Christ and to think about the depths of our own sin which nailed Jesus to the Cross.

Holy Week is so demanding, both physically and emotionally, that, with all the prayer vigils and the solemn penitential services, if that’s all we ever had – was just this focus on the sadness, and the sin, and the death, and the burial of Christ – we might be unable to handle the unrelenting emotional gravity of it all. We might lose heart.

So, with all the demands on our time, with all the demands on our sleep, with all of the demands on our work schedules, with all of the physical demands, and all of the intense emotional demands, why do we show up day after day after day for all these services? Instead of dreading Holy Week, why is it that all of us love Holy Week? For so many of, why is Holy Week our very favorite time of the year?

The answer to this question always comes on Sunday morning when we rest in the glorious Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christ is risen from the dead trampling down death by death and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.

On Ash Wednesday, we begin the Lenten fast. We receive penitential ashes on our heads as we mourn our sins and begin the long journey towards the Cross. But we are able to bear it, because we know that, at the end of the journey, Resurrection Sunday awaits us.

For forty days, we fast from all food until noon. I don’t even remember what breakfast looks like! And we abstain from meat every day. We deny our fleshly desires so that we may focus on repentance for our sins. But we are able to bear it, because we know that, at the end of the journey, Resurrection Sunday awaits us.

On Palm Sunday, we wave palm branches with the crowds and proclaim, “Hosanna in the highest!” We wince at the thought that only five days hence, the crowds will be screaming, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” But we are able to bear it, because we know that Resurrection Sunday is drawing near.

On Holy Wednesday, we repent of our sins and mourn our sicknesses as we receive Holy Unction and pray for healing of soul and body. We are still in the depths of the Lenten fast. But we are able to bear it, because we know that Resurrection Sunday is drawing near.

On Maundy Thursday, we celebrate the Last Supper with Christ. We see the example of His great humility as He washes our feet. Then the altar is stripped bare, and we proceed with our Lord to the Garden of Gethsemane. We pray with Jesus through an all-night vigil. Then Judas betrays our Lord with a kiss, and the Roman soldiers arrest Jesus, carrying Him away to be tried, sentenced, and executed. But we are able to bear it, because we know that Resurrection Sunday is drawing near.

On Good Friday at noon, we walk the Stations of the Cross. As we follow our Lord to the Cross and the tomb, we see our precious Lord Jesus murdered and laid in the grave. But we are able to bear even this, because we know that Resurrection Sunday is drawing near.

On the evening of Good Friday, we are dressed in black, and we have a very solemn service as we mourn the death of our Lord and Savior. At this point, we weep, for we know that Jesus is dead. But we are able to bear it, because we know that Resurrection Sunday is drawing near.

In eager expectation, we arrive at the church late on Saturday. The world is still in darkness. Jesus is in the tomb but not for much longer.

And then comes Sunday.
Then comes dawn.
Then comes the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Then comes the light of Christ in our hearts radically changing our lives forever.
Then comes the promise of our own resurrection from death.

For all of those who are in Christ, we rejoice in the blessed hope of eternal life. For all of us who are his disciples, we will live in joy at the right hand of God forever.

Just as the expectation of the Resurrection turns our sadness into joy during Lent, so does the promise of our future resurrection turn our sadness into joy in our day-to-day lives. The Resurrection is what makes all of the trials and all of the sorrows worth it!

We can bear the present day because of the Resurrection of the Son of God. The grave was not able to keep him down, and so the grave will not be able to keep us down either.

Christ is Risen! 
-Indeed He is Risen!
Christ is Risen!
-Indeed He is Risen!
Christ is Risen! 
-Indeed He is Risen!

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Our God is One. 


This sermon was preached on by Father Joseph Gleason Pascha (Resurrection Sunday), April 12, 2015 at Christ the King Orthodox Church in Omaha, Illinois.

Transcription by Maria Powell of Dormition Text Services. Dormition Text Services provides full service secretarial support (including transcription and publishing services) to Orthodox clergy and parish communities.


Christ is risen from the dead trampling down death by death and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!

Advertisements

About Fr Joseph Gleason

I serve as a priest at Christ the King Orthodox Mission in Omaha, Illinois, and am blessed with eight children and one lovely wife. I contribute to On Behalf of All, a simple blog about Orthodox Christianity. I also blog here at The Orthodox Life.
This entry was posted in Fr. Joseph Gleason, Pascha. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s