Beloved in Christ,
Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen!
I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
The Apostle Paul reminds us of what is central to our Faith: the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, along with his appearances. We are fast approaching the greatest celebration in our Orthodox Christian calendar; let us open our hearts to celebrate this Good News with eagerness and embrace it fully.
The death of Christ is not only for our sins, but serves as our example of how to live for others a life of sacrificial love. The resurrection is the evidence that Christ was blessed by the Father, though on the cross he was cursed for our sake. The resurrection appearances of Christ to the Apostles were the call to them to proclaim what he had done through his cross. The apostolic witness to us is a call for us to do the same.
Let us not keep this resurrection joy to ourselves. Let us be like the myrrh-bearing women who left the empty tomb with great joy, and proclaimed the good news: He is risen!
Yours in Christ,
Rt. Rev. Bishop Thomas (Joseph)
Auxiliary Bishop, Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic