The Scriptures tell us that Joseph “became bold” and asked for the body of Jesus from Pilate. He did a dangerous thing, which would likely cost him his life, as did the Holy Myrhhbearers when they went to the tomb on the day of the resurrection, to anoint a dead man. Why did they become bold? This is very important! They did not quite ” get things right”, since Jesus was not dead, so it is not so important that we get everything right and understand everything, but we must &become bold”, because of love, and God will cause everything to work to the good. Also, at the beginning, an instruction about praying for people during the most sacred part of the Divine Liturgy, which is an obligation for all Orthodox Christians, and not only the clergy.
Exegesis of the 3rd Matins Gospel, Mark 16:9-20, and chronology of the day of the resurrection. The most important points are the spiritual ones – the resurrection was not witnessed by anyone. What does that mean? A lot!
A children’s sermon on John 5:24-30, and important Christology that 7, 5 and 4 years olds know and liberal seminary students do not!
Why are the altar doors open on Pascha? When are they closed and what does it mean? An explanation in text and audio. “When the doors were shut and the disciples were gathered together, Thou didst suddenly enter in, O our almighty Jesus our God, and standing in their midst and granting them peace Thou didst fill them with the Holy Spirit and didst command them to wait and in no wise to depart from Jerusalem until they were invested with power from on high. Wherefore we cry out to Thee, O our Enlightenment, Resurrection and Peace, glory be to Thee.”
The story of the “unbelieving disbelief” of Thomas, always read on the Sunday after Pascha, and also several other times during the year has one core message that applies to every human being. We look at this, and the only reason Thomas stayed with the Apostles through the eighth day, when He saw Christ – love. Without love, and the actions of Thomas replicated in *our* lives the resurrection will be of no good effect for us. the Christology and theology in this selection is deep and important, but the example which we must learn is of even higher importance.
Of all the resurrection stories, perhaps the one concerning St Thomas is the one we can most relate to. He is the "common man", who was later able to do uncommon things. We are just like him, so our path of life must also be like his, which is the Christian life in microcosm. He, like us, was a complex indivicdual, believing, then faint of heart, couargeous, then full of fear. The one thing that he did that we must do to be saved is to endure, and "believe in the midst of our unbelief". If we do this, we are not far away from the supernatural exploits of St Thomas, the Apostle.
There are several important parts to the story of the encounter of the Apostle Thomas with the risen Lord, such as why the first words Jesus spoke to the assembled apostles were “Peace be unto you”, the promise of the sending of the Holy Spirit and the power that Jesus gave to His Apostles to remit sins. The most important gleaning from the reading is none of these, but is understood in the blunder of St Thomas, and his subsequent behavior, which led to his full enlightenment, and gave him the privilege to be the first to proclaim in the scripture that Jesus is fully God and man. We are all much like Thomas in his mistakes; let us also investigate his great virtue, which the church calls “believing disbelief”, without which, scarcely one would be saved.
The Paschal Troparion, as sung with energy and percussion in Ghana, and a Serbian Orthodox Paschal Song.
Some Bright week “Do’s and Don’ts” that are very important to keep the Paschal joys all week. Here are a few: Do eat a steak and any food you want, every day of the week, and do not eat any tofu, but do not eat too much. Do Read the Gospel of John and the Acts, but do not read the Psalms (I explain why). Do plan on communing on Thomas Sunday, the most important Sunday of the year! Do day the Paschal hours instead of your usual prayers, and do not go back to the world too soon. Towards the end, some heartfelt thank you’s for all those who helped with flowers, cleanup, preparation and our choir, which was other-worldly beautiful on Pascha night.. Also many photos and a short video.
Six and a half important minutes using Judas as an example to teach us how not to “accept the darkness” Commentary on the Sessional Hymn from Great Tuesday Matins:
“Impious Judas with avaricious thoughts plots against the Master, / and ponders how he will betray Him. /He falls away from the light and accepts the darkness; / he agrees upon the payment and sells Him that is above all price; / and as the reward for his actions, in his misery / he receives a hangman’s noose and death in agony. / O Christ our God, deliver us from such a fate as his, // and grant remission of sins to those who celebrate with love Thy most pure Passion.”