Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen!
During this Paschal season, this is our continual greeting to one another, as common and as familiar to us as, “Hello! How are you?” And indeed, it should be both common and familiar – a part of our everyday life – but with the common and familiar there is always the danger of lack of thought. We will often say, “Hello! How are you?” to one another without the slightest vestige of real concern about how the other person is. We cannot let this happen to something as central to our faith as our Paschal greeting.
What then, are we saying when we greet one another with these words?
We start with Christ, who is the starting point of all things, the object and the wellspring of our faith, the source and the fulfillment of all Creation. What starting point could be more appropriate? And the word “Christ”, of course, is the Greek for “Messiah”, God’s promised Saviour. We start, then, with the fulfillment of God’s promised salvation.
Our greeting ends with “is risen” – in fact, both the greeting and the response to the greeting ends with these words. This is the ultimate end and purpose of our faith, Christ, the Risen One, in whom we are also risen. Contained within these words is also the understanding that Christ is risen from the dead, as we also sing repeatedly this Paschal season. Death rules over all this present world, but in going through death like Christ, with Christ, death, the ultimate end, ceases to be an end at all, but rather a new beginning. The resurrection from the dead is the heartbeat of our faith, the understanding that all the pain and sorrow and suffering that we endure in this life is merely temporary – and not only so, but, in the words of the Holy Apostle Paul, “is not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed in us.” As the sun rises in the east and disperses the darkness, so all our light and momentary afflictions will vanish in the dazzling daylight of Christ’s glorious resurrection as it is revealed in us!
The last portion of our Paschal greeting we need to keep in mind is the word “indeed” in the response. This is our response to the news of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, that it is the ultimate truth. There are many truths in this world, some good and some quite hideous, but for us, as Christians, as those in Christ and in the process of being raised with Him, the resurrection is the truth above all other truth. Nothing compares to it, everything is seen in an new light because of it, because for us as Christians in Christ, everything takes place in this ultimate deed.
How are we, then? How can we be anything but overflowing with joy, as Christ is risen indeed!