Easter sermon 12 April 2015
Revd Dr Chrysostom Tympas
Christ’s Resurrection is the greatest feast and the centre of the ecclesiastical year in our Orthodox Church, contrary to the preference of other Christian denominations towards the Nativity of Christ. It is because we believe that by Christ’s resurrection and dominance over death we are able as well to overcome death, darkness, sin, and eternal condemnation. Saint Apostle Paul has made it absolute clear in his first epistle to the Corinthians: «For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished» (15-17).
Christ’s Resurrection is a feast of joy and wonder, a feast in which the whole realm of nature experience an ascendance. As we sing in the Paschal midnight canon: ‘Let the heavens rejoice, as is right, and let the earth exult; let the whole world visible and invisible keep the feast. For Christ, the joy eternal, has arisen.’ We are rejoicing in the victory of good over evil, of gentleness over aggression, of light over darkness: as we affirm in today’s Gospel, ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it’ (John 1: 5). The Lord’s Resurrection signifies in fact that love is stronger than hatred and life is stronger than death; that our prayer could give us real hope during our darkest moments and spiritual strength whereby to overcoming the hardships and failures of life.
Yet we need also to ask: In what way was this victory gained? The only answer to that is it was gained through the Cross. As it is written in Matins (Orthros) on each Sunday morning, ‘Through the Cross joy has come to all the world.’ The Paschal victory is precisely the victory of suffering love. ‘Behold, I make all things new’, says the risen Christ (Revelation 21: 5). The Lord’s Resurrection is a new beginning for the whole world and for our lives too, is the invitation to a new form of live, full of Christ’ light and love to all mankind.
Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!