Archpastoral Remarks of Metropolitan Methodios
Easter Vigil 2014
“Fellow citizens of the Saints and members of the household of God” (Eph. 2:19).
Our mystical journey to the life giving tomb of our Savior will end momentarily. Holding our white Paschal candles and with our souls glowing with the expectant joy of the Resurrection, we hasten together to the myrrh bearing women to the Holy Sepulcher. Shortly, our Savior will triumphantly come forth from His grave bringing the joyous message that death has been abolished—that life and eternity is the destiny of all who believe.
To quote from the hymns of tonight’s service, we come to the life giving tomb “to celebrate the death of death, the destruction of Hades and the beginning of eternal life”. “We come to celebrate the glorious Pascha of our Savior”. We celebrate because “the all venerable Pascha of our Lord has dawned for us”… “Christ our God has passed from death to life and from earth to heaven”.
Tonight, we who believe celebrate the Lord’s Pascha and our Pascha, our own Passover, our own exodus. An exodus from a life enslaved in the desert of sin and evil to a life of freedom, of love, of goodness.
Tonight, those of us worshipping in this Cathedral, represent all humanity—the rich and the poor, the sick and the marginalized. Those who have been victimized by all types of violence. Those abandoned and rejected. Those in anguish and despair. Those of us who have permitted the winds of skepticism to extinguish the flame of faith in our hearts, and the sirens of nihilism and materialism to deafen our ears to the voice of our Risen Savior.
We come to pray that the flame of love, of hope and of forgiveness may radiate within our souls and in the souls of our brothers and sisters in this city, in this Commonwealth and throughout America.
We approach the tomb of life to receive the light of our Resurrected Savior, that it may displace the hopelessness and despair, the conflicts and wars, the crime and violence, the faithlessness and apathy which engulf the world.
We pray the rays of the Resurrection penetrate our hearts to eradicate our indifference in confronting the moral decay and ethical sepsis which permeate our lives.
Beloved brethren, the church will shortly invite each of us to stretch our paschal candles into the empty grave “to receive the light from the unwaning light and glorify Christ who is Risen from the dead”.
Let us raise our candles skyward to penetrate the darkness. Let us pass on that radiant light to all humanity—the homeowner and the homeless. To those clad majestically and those dressed in rags. Let us especially share our joy with those described by St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians as “alienated having no hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2.13).
Let us transform the night into day by our blazing faith and burning hearts. May our radiant faces reflect the Light of the Resurrection emanating from the empty tomb. Let us leave this Cathedral singing the song of resurrected hope, of revitalized faith, of humanity reborn in the Risen Redeemer---our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.