This Sunday, Western oriented Christians will celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We Orthodox Christians will worship and feast on Pascha the following weekend this year. I think everyone looks forward to Easter Egg Hunts, outdoor cooking, non-COVID restricted gatherings with family and friends. This holiday isn’t as commercially popular as Christmas, or Thanksgiving. But, its safe to say that the springtime celebration of new life is important to the most nominal among us.
As will all other holidays, Easter will come to an end and we run the risk of a sort of spiritual dormancy until the next church celebration. This is common among all Christian communities. Holidays, weddings, special services, and (unfortunately) funerals bring us together. This is a good thing, isn’t it? Doesn’t Jesus want us all to come together in love and happiness? Of course, He does. However, to not carry over and nurture some element of spiritual growth that we learned from Easter/Pascha to our everyday between the holidays is not beneficial to our souls. It is toxic way of practicing the faith as it reduces Christianity to a few annual high points to honor in this world without reinforcing the way of life to pursue for the sake of the world to come. The goal is not to try to replicate an all night vigil or sunrise service every day. But, to take note of a prayer, scripture, virtue, inspiration that you have found and keep it as a part of your spiritual life.
In a discussion a couple of Sundays ago, I found that the Teen SOYO (Society Of Young Orthodox) at St. Basil are not big fans of contemporary Christian music. They tend to avoid the genre because the industry expects them to like it because of the lyrical content alone even if the talent is lacking. On the other hand, these kids aren’t down with everything on pop, rock and r&b either, especially if the songs promote values they aren’t being raised with. One of the young ladies hit the nail on the head, “I’m choosy about my music.” From that point we talked about discernment and how Christ, the apostles, and church fathers taught us to practice this virtue. Admittedly, I am guilty of coming home sometimes and not paying close attention to what comedies I watch on my smart phone. Orthodox clergy are free to listen to things other than Byzantine Chants and videos of monastic iconographers. The Apostle Paul said it well, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful” (1 Corinthians 6:12). So, yeah, I know one area I need to work on.
As the Feast of Feast draws near, let’s reflect on our spiritual strengths and weaknesses to find where we must continually improve. Remember a prayer that was offered and make it a part of your regular rule. Did you read a scripture that pierced your heart or about a saint that inspired you to live more holy? Hang on to it for another week or two, especially since God alone knows if we will see another springtime. Grow the seeds of goodness implanted in you this season and a greater harvest may be yours.