When the Dead in Christ Shall Rise
Dear Friends in Christ,
As I’m sure many of you also do, I often find myself with afterthoughts about the themes and images that Orthodoxy presents to us at our Lord’s Day gatherings. I think that’s as it should be. The Church wants us to reflect upon these things as part of our ongoing struggle to acquire the New Life in Christ.
As we listen to the hymns and Scriptural readings it might be rather easy for us to focus on the “dread” aspect, the “judgement” aspect, of this Great and Holy Day of the Lord. That is important and who can reflect upon such an awesome occurrence for oneself without some trepidation, some awe and some humble fear. It is also important, however, that we remember that this “Great Day in the Morning” is also the long awaited Day, the hoped for Day of Christian people in every generation. Just as we celebrate our Lord’s First Coming with joy and gladness, so will His Second Coming be for those of us who have been given the foretaste of His Kingdom. St. John tells us to “abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” St. Titus writes that the grace of God teaches us to be “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” St. Paul, likewise, counsels us “to lay hold of the hope set before us…even Jesus.
I am reminded also of a favorite Gospel Hymn:
On that bright and sunny morning when the dead in Christ shall rise
and the glory of the Resurrection share
then the saved of all the world will gather on that other shore
When the roll is called up yonder, let's be there.
This confidence and hope does not lead to self satisfaction or spiritual laziness but rather to renewed power for Life in Christ, a life that looks ever forward with the prayer - “Maranatha” - Lord, come soon!