Beloved parishioners and friends,
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
We are now moving into the final days of Christ’s passion, and more than ever we shall miss the possibility of gathering together in our church on Great and Holy Friday to witness the events leading to the Crucifixion, death and burial of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
It will be painful for us to hear the words sung on Holy Thursday at the celebration of the Divine Liturgy: ‘Of Thy mystical supper, O Son of God, today admit me a partaker…’ when we cannot come to church and receive the Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
We shall not be able to come together to share in the Resurrection of Christ, to proclaim ‘Christ is Risen!’ and to embrace each other with the joy of this radiantly beautiful feast.
But do not despair. Remember that Christ stands knocking at the door of our hearts and of our homes. Remember how Zacchaeus, in one of the Sunday readings of preparation for the Fast invited Christ into his home, and Christ said to him, ‘Today is salvation come into this house..’ Remember also how the apostles, gathered together in a room in Jerusalem in fear, after the Resurrection, refused to believe that Christ had risen, and how He came into the room, even though the doors were closed. He is knocking at the door of our homes and our souls. Invite the risen Christ into your homes.
‘Did not the women who came to anoint him pause and “say nothing to anyone,” when the young man at the tomb told them to be apostles to the apostles? Did not the disciples in Emmaus ask how this could have happened before Jesus explained it all to them on a long walk? We love public drama, but God announced the good news of Jesus’ resurrection quietly – and it hinges on a word. And when Jesus does appear, it’s not through a grand entrance in a splendiferous temple – he appears among the dejected disciples in a room with locked doors. We are in good company today, and for however long this pandemic lasts. The love of God can pierce all hearts, through locked doors, through the hardened hearts of disciples who hid in fear, through the disruption caused by a pandemic. He is among us, even in our worst hour’. (Dcn. Nicholas Denysenko)
On Thursday morning, I shall celebrate the Divine Liturgy, commemorating the Last Supper. In the evening we shall read the twelve Gospel accounts of the passion of Christ. For those of you who have Facebook, I will be streaming some services on the Parish Facebook page, so that you can share in these. If you cannot see these services, try and read some of the Gospel readings and texts. You can find all the services and readings here: https://fatherjohn.blogspot.com/2020/04/holy-week-at-home-part-1.html
I greet you all with the joyous Feast of the Resurrection of our Saviour. Christ has triumphed over hell, death no longer has any hold on us.
CHRIST IS RISEN!
Christ is Risen from the dead, Trampling down death by death, and to those in the tombs He has given life!
Христос Воскресе ! Χριστός Ανέστη ! Hristos a înviat !
With all my love and blessings
15 April 2020 www.facebook.com/OrthodoxParishOfTheHolyProphetElias/ _________________________________________________________________________________________