A Week of Renewal

all-newWhat a glorious Pascha we began to experience on Saturday night/Sunday morning! We left the Church with our candles lit, and what was a darkened church began to glow as more and more came and “received light, from the Light that is never overtaken by night”. We gathered outside, heard the Gospel of the Resurrection, and then witnessed His victory over death, heralded by the banging of the Cross on the Doors not just of the church, but of the doors which formerly kept us in the darkness of death, outside the Kingdom. Having heard that the Risen Christ is the King of Glory, we entered the brightness of the fully-lit Church amidst an explosion of Paschal Joy!

This brightness explains why this week is known as Bright Week. But it has another name: Renewal Week. When we think of how we use the word renewal in our day, one of the ways is to renew a library book or, as I hope to do this week, renew my membership to Meijer Gardens. Both examples carry the feeling that something that was ending was now made new and the enjoyment of what was renewed can continue.

But just what is renewed during Renewal Week? Nothing less than life itself. If we give ourselves over to this Renewal Week, nothing is as it was before. Our attitudes toward our lives—and our deaths—are all made new in the Light of Christ’s victory over death. Our attitudes toward our relationships with those we love—and even those that we maybe even hate—are now all offered to us renewed, something they weren’t before. If Christ can turn death into life, what aspect of our lives cannot be transformed into glory? No matter how difficult life may be due to sickness, fear, or stress of any kind, all of these can be transformed and renewed in the Light of the Resurrection.

So this is our great opportunity and our great challenge this week: what will we allow God to renew in the Light of the Resurrection of His Son, and what will we hold back from His renewing touch? That which we hold back from God’s renewal remains as it was: aging, decaying, and dying. That for which we accept God’s renewal is transformed from decaying and dying to renewal and rebirth.

So let’s be renewed, in every way we can be. Like all change, we can find it difficult to accept this renewal, even if what it promises is all good. Change is always hard, even good change. But if we push past our reluctance to accept this renewal, we will live every moment—from now into all Eternity—in that same moment when we walked into the brightness of the Church on Pascha, basking in the glow of the resurrected Christ. One of the last recorded sayings of Jesus comes from the end of the last book of the Bible: “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelations 21:5). In this Renewal Week, let us allow Christ to do just that: make everything—EVERYTHING—in our lives new.