The Paschal Greeting

Nov 24, 2014 3380

He is RisenThe traditional Easter greeting is the exclamation “He is risen!” and the traditional response is “He is risen, indeed!” In the Orthodox and Catholic churches, the greeting is called the “Paschal Greeting.”

I first came across it in Ukraine, where it is practically universal at Easter. During Easter there, as in across Orthodox Christianity, people greet each other in the streets with:

Христос Воскресе!   
    Christ is Risen!

and people joyfully respond:

Воистину Воскресе!     Yes! He is Risen!

The Paschal Greeting seems to have its roots in the Bible, and is apparently based on Luke 24:34: “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” (ESV).

The Paschal Greeting is a very old ancient custom. We do know that, at first, the greeting was more common in Eastern and Byzantine liturgies than in the Western church.

The greeting “Christ is risen!” reminds us that the resurrection of Christ is the basis of all community and life. The response “He is risen, indeed!” reminds us that this is a message that needs to be contagiously and joyfully shared.

There is only one thing that I would improve about this custom. I would greet everyone every day with the joy of the risen Lord, and I would respond to others in that same joy – every day!

The truth is that that the death and resurrection of Christ has abolished time as we know it for all those who believe. We have been translated to his glorious kingdom. We have entered into the life that proceeds from him. We have been gifted eternal life through Christ.

So now, every day is Easter-time, and we only have “today” because of the gospel story of a cross and an open tomb. And not only do we have “today,” but we also have forever. And because of the gospel story, every day is a day of joy!

Христос Воскресе!

Eliezer

 

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