METROPOLITAN METHODIOS' PASCHAL REFLECTIONSOn Easter morning, I will invite you to "lift up your hearts" and to chant together with me the most joyous and meaningful hymn of Christendom. I will invite you to add your voices to those of thousands throughout America and the world. The triumphant Christos Anesti is a summons to come out of the quicksand of pride and sin, of deceit and sadness, of selfishness and false security in order to know, to experience, and to live the richness of our Savior's love.
The triumphant "Christ is Risen" is a summons to all of us to rededicate ourselves to the mission of the Church. And that mission is none other than to bring hope and salvation to the hearts of all, especially to those who suffer.
The hymn Christos Anesti is the triumphant anthem of Christianity. It is the inexhaustible source of our strength and determination. It is our inspiration to meet the challenges of life and to fight victoriously over all adversaries. Christos Anesti is the answer of all of us who refuse to accept spiritual defeat because of our fervent belief in Him who defeated death.
The saving message of the Gospel needs to be proclaimed loudly and clearly in the world. The Paschal Light of Christ's Resurrection needs to shatter the darkness in people's lives everywhere.
Countless men and women long to hear a word of hope and comfort. I refer to the homeless, the destitute, the orphaned and widowed..... those who have fallen prey to hunger, poverty, and disease and to the insatiable greed of Wall Street thieves.
Every day we are reminded of the moral decay which permeates our nation --- its cities and towns. We live in a culture of cruelty and destruction. The financial crisis caused by criminal greed and political contempt has caused dramatic consequences: the loss of homes and jobs --- the loss of hope itself!
Sadly, we have become desensitized to the horrendous crimes that are committed every day --- the senseless acts of violence, the recent multiple assassinations in North Carolina and Binghamton, NY....the unspeakable murder of an innocent little girl by a Sunday School teacher, mind you!
People throughout the world reach out this Easter for reconciliation, justice and peace. They yearn not for what the world offers--- not new forums of economic or political oppression, but what the Church offers, the glorious freedom to be children of God.
As you receive your Paschal Light, fan it into the flame of the Risen Lord. Bring the Paschal message of hope and forgiveness to one and all.
Proclaim the God-given dignity of the human person in an increasingly secularized world. Christos Anesti must be proclaimed in a culture which considers Christianity as irrelevant and uses every means to muzzle its voice to drive it out of the daily life of America.
The angel at the life-giving tomb told the Myrrh bearing women to "go quickly and tell the disciples that Christ is Risen from the dead."
Clearly, it is not sufficient only to chant Christos Anesti. It is imperative and incumbent upon all of us --- clergy and laity alike --- to go quickly and transmit the glad tidings----to be messengers, evangelists, and missionaries of the good news to all humanity. Let us assure everyone that pain, guilt, sin, evil and death are not the final reality. Let us share the most astounding and joyous message ever to be heard --- that Christ is Risen --- that life, forgiveness and healing are gifts of the Risen Savior.