митрополит Антоний Су́рожский (Блум)

First Sunday After Easter

Newsletter N. 5, May 1970

Sermon for the 1st Sunday after Easter. 28 April 1968.

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

We are still illumined by the joyful light of Easter and yet the fear is already creeping into our hearts that this light will soon fade, that we shall find ourselves in the position of the people at the marriage at Cana of Galilee. Their hearts were still burning with the joy, their souls wide open to rejoicing, but the joy was beginning to evaporate. Then the Mother of God said to Jesus: 'They have no wine'. Everything that had brought them earthly joy was gradually disappearing, and then Christ blessed the ordinary, everyday water, and by God's power this water suddenly came alive, became the wine of eternal life, the new wine of the Kingdom of God.

So with us; much has been given us during Lent and we still stand bathed in light. But how can we preserve the joy in such a way that it cannot be taken from us? To begin with, where did it spring from? It sprang from the fact that for a short time we concentrated all our attention on God and those things which have eternal, abiding significance. During Lent, however careless and lazy we may have been, we did put aside at least the most pointless and unnecessary pursuits and tried to come to church more often and stand before God with a receptive conscience, to listen to His own words and immerse ourselves in the prayer of the church and gain inspiration through it. We shed what corrupts the soul and started to acquire what renews and gives life. Therefore we have become more disciplined, sober and serious, purer and more truthful, and our souls have become more receptive. The light of God has begun to flow into them and they are coming alive, and the life is shining with the triumphant radiance of Easter night. This blinding light does not last for ever unless it grows from day to day into that light of which we sing at every evening service: «Thou, gentle light of the holy glory of the immortal Father...” The joyful Easter light must become the gentle, life-giving, unwavering, constant light of Godhead, which enlightens our minds, illumines our hearts and sheds its radiance over our whole life. In order to keep this radiance we must preserve what we learnt in Lent, the openness towards God and receptiveness towards Him, the serious and attentive attitude to our own lives, and the right hierarchy of values in which God and our fellow men are more important than ourselves, and we can serve all in the name of Christ. If we can continue to live in this spirit, the joy of Easter will not fade, but will become the gentle light that enlightens every man who comes into the world. Let us not lose this joy and light through carelessness and forgetfulness, and let us live in such a way that we are ever open to God. Amen.

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