…Any other day a heavy downpour would have dampened spirits...but, when death has lost its grip, when Christ is Resurrected, when all things are made new again...nothing can stop the human spirit from rejoicing and celebrating.
This morning we celebrate Pascha. Today we celebrate God and His love for mankind. Today we honor His sacrifice and His victory. Today, we honor God.
With His Grace Bishop Daniel, the spiritual father of the Western Eparchy of the UOC of the USA, leading us, this morning we witnessed, no...we felt...to bottom of our cores, the darkness that surrounds us daily....to realize what is...and what we strive for. From the darkness of sin and death, the light of God and salvation...for eternity.
As midnight approached....with all the candles extinguished....with all the lights turned off...the Royal Gates swing open and Bishop Daniel presents us with the Light...and one by one, the flame of hope and salvation ignites from candle to candle...from hand, to hand...from soul...to soul.
This is how we began our sojourn to meet the newly Resurrected Christ.
With new hope everyone, the entire flock, followed their shepherd, as he didn't hesitate a moment, but, exited the dry church into the dark and pouring rain. As the myrrh bearing women, who would not have hesitated had it been raining...so, he led his flock to out in to the world...to meet our Resurrected Lord.
Everyone was soaked the bone. Nobody cared that their hair was matted, their makeup dripping, their feet squishing and squashing in their drenched shoes....everyone giggled and laughed and shouted - CHRIST IS RISEN!
As the the Paschal Liturgy concluded around 4 a.m....and everyone’s clothing had started to dry...they headed to the parish hall to have their baskets blessed....and to once again get doused. Bishop Daniel not only blessed the baskets...but, blessed his flock of lambs...who are still drying at this hour.
What a awesome experience. This is what life is all about. We often forget. We get bogged down with our daily concerns....but, this...this is our ultimate goal.
Rejoice...for Christ is Risen...and all is well with the world.
Pascha Night in Southfield, MI - 05/01/16
Photos and Text by Elizabeth Symonenko