We Will Overcome Because Christ Overcame
With faith and hope I join you in prayer with the belief that no matter the circumstances of our lives, the glorious Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will enliven and brighten our hearts and souls, renew and strengthen us in faith and in hope, particularly in this time of global crisis caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
This year, though the nature of our celebration has changed, the truth and message of the Resurrection remains unchanged. Sadly, we cannot celebrate this greatest of miracles and the core of our faith with pomp and Churches crowded with faithful joyfully greeting one another with exclamations of “Christ is risen from the dead. Blessed be the resurrection of Christ.” Instead, we are relegated to our homes, obliged to celebrate from afar. This is an unprecedented situation; however, this is also the nature of this life and of this world. Life is unpredictable; it is constantly changing, evolving, and adapting. The one and only constant is Jesus Christ, Who “is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8). Therefore at all times, and in this time of crisis especially, let us seek and find our comfort, our strength, and our peace in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Who “by His voluntary death put death to death and by His incorrupt Resurrection renewed the world.” (Midday Chant).
In today’s unique situation especially, so many are living in fear and constant worry about what the future holds. The power and promise of the Resurrection comes to abate our fears and the Lord Himself gives us all the comfort and strength we need in these trying times; “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). When we are downhearted, confused, worried, and uncertain, let us remember that the risen Christ is by our side, that He is our ever-present living Lord who dwells in our hearts and grants us the strength we need to conquer any and all obstacles and challenges.
Jesus Himself experienced unimaginable suffering in His last days on earth. He was betrayed, arrested, tried, and subjected to an agonizing death on the Cross. The disciples themselves were in a state of fear and despondence. However, three days after the sorrow of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, despair gave way to unbridled joy. The veil of doubt was torn off and the trumpet of victory was blown on Sunday morning when Christ rose from the dead, trampling down death by death and heralding the promise of everlasting life. The Lord had Risen! He was alive! Yes, Jesus had defeated sin, darkness, despair, hate, conflict, deception, injustice, evil, and death, and replaced it with salvation, light, hope, love, peace, truth, justice, goodness, and eternal life. He rose from the dead so that we, too, may rise from the dead. He overcame so that we, too, may overcome.
The Easter message is a timeless and transformative message that is needed now more than ever in a world that has become more despondent. Yes, our lives and circumstances can, at times, be difficult. God does not promise us that we will not have struggles and troubles in our lives; however, He does promise the gift of His grace, power, strength, courage, and hope, to soar above the challenges of life and live a renewed and better life, if only we accept Him into our hearts and souls.
Bolstered in faith, hope, and love by the truth and triumph of the Resurrection, I convey my heartfelt wishes for a happy and blessed Easter, praying for the Risen Christ to sustain us through this crisis and lead us to emerge victorious.
With these hopeful sentiments I congratulate you all, praying and trusting that the Lord will liberate the world from this pandemic and arm us with the triumphal faith and exultation of the Resurrection, and that we will joyfully greet one another exclaiming,
CHRIST IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD
BLESSED IS THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian
Prelate, Western United States