NB: From our print bulletin for the months of May & June. See the Service Schedule page for June's schedule.
The Church is adorned with Light! Her Bridegroom has appeared, more beautiful than all creation and more radiant than the sun, risen from the dead and raising all of creation with Him.
The Light of Christ now shines on all, but unlike created light that shines on material things and is stopped, creating shadows, the Light of Christ casts no shadow. It fills all and penetrates into the deepest depths, throughout the heavens and the earth and the nethermost parts, but most importantly for each of us, it reaches even into the inner chambers of our hearts. If we are clean only on the outside, if our piety is only skin-deep, if we participate in the life of Christ and His Church only on special occasions, if we discuss our fasting habits or—God forbid—skip fasting altogether, if our prayer life is all form and no content or—God forbid—we fail to pray altogether, then as Christ's Light penetrates beyond our exterior, we risk hearing the Lord's words directed at us: "hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness."
God is the God of the living, not the dead. Those who live, live in Christ. Outside of Christ the Light and Day-spring, we find ourselves in "night...a dark and moonless love of sin," as we sang on Holy and Great Wednesday. As Matthew records in his account of Christ's Gospel, "If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" We are called to be "partakers of the Light, sharers of Thy divinity without stint" as full members of His luminous Body.
What does this word "member" mean? It literally means a limb, a body part. For some, member has become a vacuous, exclusionary term, outwardly recognizing whether an Orthodox Christian has tithed, paid dues, has voting rights at parish council meetings, speaks certain languages, has a particular ethnic background, holds specific ecclesiastical or secular political views, and many other similar externalities. But true members of the Church are integral limbs of the Body of Christ. Every limb, every member plays a vital role in the body, participating to greater or lesser degrees in the life in Christ by His grace, which is ever overflowing and thus limited only by our receptivity to it. Furthermore, in an organism, a sickness affecting one body part can easily spread to others. Each of us, then, has a special responsibility to root out the terminal illness of sin in our lives.
The Lord has given us as a remedy for this disease the sacrifice of His flesh: the heavenly, immortal, awesome Mysteries of His resurrected, life-giving Body and Blood. Having no need of cleansing Himself, He ordained the Mystical Supper for us sinners to be cleansed, for the forgiveness of our sins, for full communion with Him that we may not only know about Him, but may know Him, and to know Him is eternal life. As we have read recently in the Gospel according to St. John the Theologian, "this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
May each of us be raised up to become partakers of Christ's light, life, and resurrection, so that in the age to come we may join the rest of His saints as stars in the firmament of the heavens, singing praises to the three lights and one light, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to Whom belong all thanksgiving and rejoicing.