Christ is Risen!
Truly He is Risen!
One thing I have learned from years of teaching and being a parent is that life goes on no matter what. Whether I am tired or sick, unmotivated, unprepared, or busy and distracted, life is still moving.
After our Spring Break and a full week of Pascha (Easter) preparations we Orthodox Christians culminated the week with the triumphal presence of Christ risen from the tomb. “He is not here, He is risen just as He said.” (Matthew 28:6)
Our school week began on Monday at 12:00 noon, appropriately with sharing a meal together. Students and faculty took joy in sharing/trading their lunches as usual, with the festal addition of rich meats and cheeses. The traditional red eggs were presented and, of course, the cracking egg game followed, while proclaiming, “Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!”
The faculty decided to continue this jovial mood and moved our day out of doors to let the students work on their sport of the season, wiffle ball. The very breezy weather added another challenge, showing mastery in all that we do.
Wiffle ball being ended, and points of the winning houses being rightly recorded to the ongoing competition scores, we decided to extend the Bright Monday games to an egg relay and egg toss, with the Paschal Greeting given throughout.
Tuesday we participated in the Paschal Divine Liturgy with the people of St. Nicholas. The Gospel reading for the day was the telling of two men who encountered Jesus on the road to Emmaus. They were surprised at Jesus being the only stranger in Jerusalem to have not heard of the happenings. Their eyes were restrained so that they did not know him. As Father Dragan recounted to us through his sermon, our eyes – like theirs – are opened only when we “break bread” and commune with Christ.
The middle days of the week were carried out almost as usual, excepting the absence of our Headmaster, who is struggling to overcome illness. We miss his presence at school and pray that God will strengthen him and sustain his health. Classes resumed with much review and solidifying of concepts learned over the last few months.
Friday brought back some normalcy, as well as a new project presented by the faculty. The general schedule being as it was before Lent: prayer, reading, cleaning, Tae Kwon Do, lunch, outreach/activity guilds. More specifically we began a new reading project, which was received by the students with much joy and enthusiasm – the reading of a Shakespeare play, “As You Like It.” What a poignant representation was our “theatre in the round,” having older and younger scholars engaged together.
The students ended the day (and week) by being the “hands and feet” of Christ while working with Randy Evans of FOCUS International (Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve) to package meals for children in Indianapolis who are in need. Our students assembled 39 bags (enough to provide 390 weekend meals for hungry school children) in 1 hour and 35 minutes! Of course, what do you think followed all of this hard work? More wiffle ball.
All of this action may cause some to wonder if we merely like to keep the children busy. Or, perhaps we just have children who are full of energy. One who takes a deeper look will see that our activities (from classes, to lunch, to games, to service) are full of purpose.
When the students play games, they are learning about sportsmanship and about their own strengths and weaknesses, in character and physique. When the students participate in liturgical services, they are participating in the life of Christ and His Church. When they study together, there are many opportunities for in-class mentoring. When they perform service work, it is with comradery and encouragement.
This purpose is grounded in our recent feast. The grammar students have been working on penmanship while writing the Paschal Sermon of St. John Chrysostom. (You parents of grammar students get your hands on it if you can.) What beautiful wording of the Feast of Feasts. Some of my favorite lines are as follows:
“Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness.
O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave.
For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen”
May we be like the ointment-bearing women who, in coming to the tomb to prepare the body for burial, while taken with trembling and thought to flee found the Angel who cried: Rejoice, be not afraid, He whom you seek is risen. Go quickly and proclaim to the Disciples: The Savior is risen from the grave.
Life goes on!