John Mark Reynolds, 2005.
Every day the sun rises in the East and sets in the West. For those of Western European ancestry, like myself, it is to the East that we owe the coming of the True Light: Jesus Christ. From the East came Peter, prince of the Apostles. From the East came the greatest of all God-breathed theologians: Paul. It is from the East that the great Creeds came. It was the East that was our strong bulwark against Islamic terror and conquest for one thousand years. The Christian Roman Empire, Byzantium, stood firm against the darkness of slavery.
Oddly, due to a difference now understood only by a few, the Faithful of the East, most having paid the price of their defense of Christendom by defeat and servitude, and the West, where Christendom was protected just long enough to birth science, democracy with law, and free markets, now celebrate their holiest day differently.
And Pascha comes last to the East. What a strange thing that the brave defenders of the West, often forgotten in their Eastern lands, would faithfully hold to the old ways and end up celebrating the coming of the True Light last. Those of us who follow the Eastern Way braved the Lenten fast while our friends walked through Holy Week and Easter made more poignant by the painful death of the stalwart Bishop of Rome. He was the man who expressed sorrow for old wrongs and with that other great man of the furthest West repaid old debts and helped free many in the East from the chains of a dark bondage.
But today, at last, Christendom is healed in heart if not in deed. Today the ancient centers of Christendom (Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem) ring with the cry that a light has come in darkness. Christ is risen! And in this glad sound we join those in the West from Rome to Canterbury who have seen it too. In this new World America, placed by Providence twixt East and West, now home to men and women from both worlds, all Christians unite with the shout of triumph. Here children of the Old Worlds are learning at long last to unite to defeat a common foe and to celebrate the Lord Jesus Christ that unites them in so much!
We do not ignore the painful divisions that must plague fallen men this side of heaven, but just today we share one heart and one voice. We speak the unity that will come in heaven. We shout with many tongues. Just in my church today it will be said in Arabic, Greek, Russian, English, Italian, Spanish, French…an aural symbol of the ties that bind Christendom globally. All of Christendom united in that moment in a foretaste of Paradise in the bravest and noblest worlds every spoken.Christ is risen! Death gives way to light! Today the Light has risen in the East! It circles the globe and in the greatest of miracles there is no darkness, for at least this day, any place on this terrestrial sphere.
He is Risen! Christ is Risen indeed!