May The Message Of The Resurrection Lead Us To Renewed Life
The glory of Easter is upon us once again, the most sacred, heartening, and joyful time of the year when our hearts and souls are enlivened by the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, His conquering of sin and of death, the inauguration of a new creation and the dawn of a new life. Easter, however, is not and must not be a fleeting celebration. The Resurrection of Christ is the crux of Christianity, and its powerful, life-saving, and life-giving message is for all the days of the year and indeed for all of eternity. To say that Jesus changed the world is not hyperbole; Jesus saved, renewed, reformed, and transformed lives, individually and collectively, and He continues to do so until the end of the age. Christ truly “makes all things new” (Revelation 21:5).
The Holy Bible is filled with stories of rebirth, of lives being reformed and transformed by the grace and mercy of our Lord. In the physical sense, Jesus healed and made whole individuals suffering from various illnesses; he restored sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to the mute, cured paralytics and lepers, cast out demons, and more. Even more important than the physical is the minds, hearts, and souls He renewed. Jesus took simple and ordinary men like the apostles and the seventy-two disciples and endowed them with His power and authority, transforming them into bold and fearless witnesses, preachers, and spiritual leaders. There are many similar examples throughout the Bible, but perhaps the greatest transformation was that of Saul, once a persecutor of Christians, who upon seeing the Risen Christ experienced a total rebirth and became one of the most influential figures in the history of Christianity as St. Paul. In our own history we have the example of the pagan king Dertad who became the first Christian king of Armenia, proclaimed Christianity as the state religion, and died spreading the new faith.
Through His passion, death, and glorious Resurrection, our Lord Jesus Christ offered this same hope of a new and transformed life to all of mankind, “God is risen and all the universe has been adorned in a new garment” (Armenian Hymn). God’s love and Word have the power to transform lives, not just of those who lived in the time of Jesus, but our lives today, yours and mine. He, and only He, can change our innermost being, and through Him alone can we become who God has called us to be and enter into the fullness of a new and abundant life.
Easter is the most fitting time to commit ourselves to this new and abundant life in Christ, to reinforce our faith and cast off any and all negativity and darkness that threatens to sway us, our church, and our nation from the path that God has planned for us, for “…just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). God became man so that we could be more like Him, to have in Him new life, for “By His voluntary death He put death to death and by His incorrupt resurrection renewed the world” (Armenian Hymn). Let us accept this priceless gift and invite our Lord into our innermost beings with open arms and open hearts, allowing His grace, love, peace, and joy to renew, restore, and transform us into new creatures in His image.
With these thoughts and hopes, I extend my heartfelt well wishes to our extended Prelacy family, to the members of our clergy, councils, parishes, educational institutions, community organizations, and faithful, praying for the spirit of the Resurrection to inundate our souls with His love, peace, joy, and goodness, and guide us throughout the year to becoming who God intends for us to be. In this centennial year of the first Republic of Armenia in particular, let us renew our allegiance to our Lord, to our church, and to our nation, and serve with faith, brotherly love, and goodwill for His glory first and foremost, and for the splendor of our collective national life, in the spirit of our forefathers who gave their all for the resurrection of our nation in the aftermath of the Genocide.
Renewed in spirit, in faith, hope, and in love, let us put off our old selves and put on the new man, and in unison sing praises of joy and thanksgiving, for
CHRIST HAS RISEN FROM THE DEAD
BLESSED IS THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
A HAPPY EASTER FOR US ALL
Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian
Prelate, Western United States