No longer ought we be chained by judgment; no longer ought we allow our joy be impeded by the vicissitudes of a life filled with suffering and pain. Rejoice! We are called to serve, as Christ did, the last among us; we are called to love the forgotten, those who have drawn near at the last moment or merely been forgotten. Joy means loving service at the feet of our brethren. Freedom means letting go of ourselves and seeking freedom for others; it means putting before ourselves the needs of the needy and the wounds of the wounded. Christ rose for all people; the first shall be last.
Second, Pascha reminds us that we always must have hope. No matter how difficult the “long defeat” of history, we must not forget that the final victory is God’s. The eschaton means deliverance; it means life beyond life; it means the undoing of sin, the world perfected, creation redeemed. This life, with its pain, must be endured. We cannot ignore it (hence point one above). What allows us to keep on, however, is this hope, this beautiful faith in the future of the Lord’s conquest, the lamb and the lion laying together:
Hope, when it comes to birth, is not just a confidence that there is a future for us, it’s also a confidence that there’s a continuity so that the future is related to the same truth and living reality as the past and the present. Hope is again hope in relation; relation to that which does not go away and abandon, relation to a reality which knows and sees and holds who we are. You have an identity because you have a witness of who you are. What you don’t understand or see, the bits of yourself you can’t pull together in a convincing story are all held in a single gaze of love. You don’t have to work out and finalise who you are and who you have been; you don’t have to settle the absolute truth of your history or story; because in the eyes of the presence which does not go away, all that you have been and are is still present and real; it is held together in that unifying gaze as if you were to see a pile of apparently disparate, disconnected bits suddenly revealed as being held together by a string, twitched by the divine observer, the divine witness. (Rowan Williams)
We are brought into hope, faith, and love, not to a mere optimism, but into the beautiful expectation of Christian belief. Unlike the optimist, we do not stick our chins up and deny suffering; we hope beyond hope and love beyond love. We see the inseparable nature of the Triduum, from beginning to end.
Let us then try to keep all of this in mind this Easter as we cry: Christ is Risen! Christos voskrese!