Over the past couple of weeks, in middle school religion classes, we have been talking about the Lenten period and what its purpose really is. When I ask students why we have this 40-day (Lent) plus 6-day (Holy Week) period of time in the Orthodox Church, I get the expected answer, “to prepare for Easter.” I go on to ask them, “but why do we need to prepare for Pascha (Easter), and what is so important about it?” We then get into the meat of it - because Christ resurrected. This is a miracle, by our earthly standards, and proof to the followers and unbelievers around him at that time. Most importantly, with Christ’s resurrection, He trampled death and Satan and the gates of heaven were opened. At the moment of the resurrection, all of us, God’s perfect creation, were granted the ability to be united with our creator. Something that was not possible after the fall of Adam and Eve and before His resurrection occurred.
For the month of April, our word is faith. What does it mean to have faith? I think that it is summed up very succinctly in 2 Corinthians 5:7 where St. Paul says “For we live by faith, not by sight.” To have faith means that we trust without necessarily seeing. We trust that God exists, and we trust that Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God and our Lord and Savior. We believe that in the resurrection we will have eternal life. Are these things that we see overtly in our everyday lives? On the surface no, but when we look deeper and take the time to allow stillness and quiet moments of prayer and contemplation, yes, God truly is present. The Holy Spirit is working all around us and the hope that Christ’s resurrection brings us is ever-present. All we need is to have a little faith.
May God grant us all strength through the rest of our Lenten journey!