As I write this, it’s probably still Saturday where you live. Here in Novosibirsk, however, Easter morning has dawned. In a couple of hours our church will be full of joyful worshipers greeting one another in Russian with the ancient exchange “Christos voskres!” “Voistinu voskres!” “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!” We’ll read the angel’s joyful announcement to the women in about 20 different languages.
Yet this joyful day will be unnoticed by the city at large. People will go their ways ignorant of the celebration by Lutherans of the greatest event in history. This is because for the Russian Orthodox, Easter this year is still a week away. Except for 10-second news clips, “Western Easter” is unacknowledged. It’s not so very different from that first Easter, when all but a few followers were unaware that the Son of God had burst the bonds of the grave.
In a week, Orthodox Easter will be all over television. Far more than in America, the Resurrection of Christ will get air time on the mainstream channels. There will be broadcast Orthodox services with explanations for those who don’t understand Church Slavonic. Most people will probably turn to another station or otherwise ignore it. Others may see and hear but not understand.
But now has Christ arisen. He has ushered in life and immortality for the children of Adam by his vanquishing sin and death. The Resurrection makes all the difference.
The feast continues for 50 days. So a week from now, we Lutherans won’t consider the Resurrection to be tired news. That we live because He lives is never old, but always sweet to the ears of believers.
A blessed Eastertide to you.