A New Spiritual Beginning
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,
he is a new creation;
old things have passed away;
behold, all things have become new”
(2 Corinthians 5:17)
Once again spring is upon us with its joyful anticipation of Easter, a time of new beginnings, the death of the old and the birth of the new. This season is full of joy, a time of hope and happiness, a celebration of a new spiritual beginning and the promise of eternal life.
Spring reminds us that new life will come again. The cold and dark winter gives way to the warm rays of the bright sun and the blooming of brightly and beautifully colored flowers. The Resurrection of Christ signals the blooming of a new season for our spirits, a reminder that we too can have new life.
The Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is the high point of the Christian year, the most joyous and most sacred day of the Christian calendar. It is indeed the very foundation of our Christian faith and the strongest affirmation of God’s unlimited love and promise of salvation.
The Resurrection of Christ is the fulfillment of prophecies of the Old Testament. All of our faith, all our beliefs, hinge on this great event, this beautiful miracle of the promise of eternal life.
Easter is not just a one day celebration; it is a spiritual journey that begins with Great Lent, a period of sacrifice, discipline, reflection, introspection, and preparation, and its powerful and life-giving message and spirit extends throughout the year. During this journey, each day we feel a little more revived, reinvigorated, stronger spiritually and mentally, and better prepared to welcome the dawn of a new spiritual beginning, Easter.
Easter is about accepting the joyful grace of our risen Christ and letting go of those things that hold us back from truly being all God wants us to be. Easter is about overcoming and rising above the darkness and despair. The Resurrection transformed the lives of the apostles and disciples and it also can transform our lives and cause us to rise and come forth into the light of a new day. All those who were visited by Jesus after His Resurrection became new people. The Risen Christ brought profound changes in their lives and He can bring the same for us if we open our hearts to Him. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:8)
Our lives and our surroundings can at times seem dark. God does not promise us that we will not have struggles and troubles in our lives; He promises us something much greater. His promise gives us the courage, power, hope, and grace to soar above the challenges of life and live a renewed and better life.
At the beginning of each year, we celebrate a new calendar year and resolve that we will change our lives and better ourselves. Within a short time, we begin to forget those resolutions and slowly return to our old habits. The Feast of the Resurrection is an invitation to start an even more meaningful new life, a spiritual new season. It gives us the opportunity to “put off the old man with his deeds, and put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.” (Colossians 3:10)
Now is the time to turn our lives around and begin anew, to leave the darkness of our old lives behind and move forward, to rise up and welcome a fresh start, the victory of life over death.
No matter what one’s circumstances may be, it’s never too late to change, to cleanse ourselves, expel the negative from our lives, rebuild, and start anew. The greatest evidence of this is found in the Gospel of Luke, in a conversation between Jesus and the two thieves crucified alongside Him. As one of them blasphemed Christ, the other, the penitent thief, saw the Truth at last, saw that the man next to him was his Lord, and asked Jesus to remember him in His kingdom. To which Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43)
This Easter, renewed in mind, body, and soul by our Lenten journey, let us vow to commit ourselves to starting a new life, free from sin and negativity and filled with the light, joy, and love of our Risen Christ.
We extend our best wishes to our clergy, councils, delegates, parishes, educators and schools, our organizations, and our faithful parishioners, praying for the miraculous Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ be the dawn of our spiritual awakening and spiritually active life. Reinvigorated and uplifted by the life-giving promise of the Resurrection, and guided by the spirit of the triumphant victory of good over evil, may we continue our devoted service to our Lord, to the Armenian Apostolic Church, and the Armenian Nation.
CHRIST IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD
BLESSED IS THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian
Prelate, Western United States