Monday, April 25, 2011

This Was Not Yet Pascha

When I was a little girl, I used to wonder why so much emphasis was put upon Jesus, Who, it seemed to me, was stealing quite a bit of the glory that ought to be given to God.  Easter was perhaps the worst example of this, in my mind.  I was a long way from Pascha.

When I grew a little older I began to understand that Jesus was and is God, so there was no glory-stealing going on.  I no longer minded congratulating Him on His glorious resurrection.  In fact, it was a matter of personal loyalty to him.  But of course that idea of what it was all about was still not yet Pascha.

In my adolescence, I saw the resurrection as necessary to make the story come out right; God must triumph.  But that was not yet Pascha.

In young adulthood, I thought of the resurrection as God's great "Amen" to what had happened upon the Cross (the main work).  This was the great vindication of Jesus, and therefore of my Christian faith.  So Easter became a a matter of pride; one was proud to have the right faith and one was proud to be the follower of so glorious a King, and if the whole thing seemed quite triumphalistic, well, how could it be otherwise?  The chest swelled when we sang, in majestic strains:

Christ the Lord is ris'n today,
Sons of men and angels say,
Raise your joys and triumphs high,
Ours the heav'ns the earth, the sky,

But of course pride was not yet Pascha at all, was it?

Pascha is about God's love being stronger than suffering, any suffering, and stronger than death.  Pascha means Christ has parted death's dark waters and brought the entire human race to the other side the dismal sea.  It means "death" is now the portal to new life, for every single human being, whether we know it or not, whether we believe it or not, even whether we like it or not.  Pascha means that given such Love and such Might, we can confidently hope, indeed know, that in the fulness of time, at the time the Lover of Mankind knows is best, He will put a definitive end to all suffering, will reverse all evil, will wipe away every tear, will make everything infinitely better than just okay.