|Image by Amanda Rose 2012
Petite Jean State Park, AK
Easter is our season to rejoice, for our “Alleluia” to resound after forty penitential days preparing for our Savior’s Passion, death, and resurrection. But can we rejoice when we feel no joy? How do we sing “Alleluia” through our tears?
We each have suffering in our own lives that cannot be measured or compared. Whether it is the physical and emotional suffering experienced by victims of an unexpected explosion, the suffering of a mother holding a terminally ill child, the agony of a body wracked by cancer eating away within it, the pain of words that cut to the quick and wound to the soul – all suffering hurts, all suffering leaves scars, and all suffering has been redeemed by Christ.
“Rejoice in the Lord always!” resounds in Philippians 4:4 and repeats throughout the New Testament. These words were written and repeated by men who were persecuted, who suffered, who felt physical and emotional pain just as we do. They suffered and yet they continued to teach us to rejoice in the Lord always.
Reflecting on the horrors committed each day does not elicit joyful feelings within us, nor should it. We do not rejoice over the evil in the world, or that which remains within each of us to varying degrees. We do not rejoice over the pain and suffering surrounding us and within our own lives.
Yet, we can still rejoice in the Lord. We can sing our Alleluia even as tears overflow.
We do not need to feel joy or happiness regarding our current circumstances in order to rejoice in the Lord’s resurrection, to rejoice in Who He is. Although we may be covered by a momentary darkness, it is the hope of His resurrection that is the cause of our joyful anticipation. We know that the darkness of the tomb is only temporary; we know the end of the story is His glory. We know the story of His love for us. This is why we rejoice.
Our stunned silence can begin to be filled with “Glory to God.”
Orthodox Metropolitan Tryphon wrote “Akathist Hymn: Glory to God for All Things” shortly before his death in 1934, and his beautiful words resound in the darkness of our day. His words can perhaps help us find our own “Glory to God” and pronounce our own “alleluia” once again.
From Akathist Hymn: Glory to God for All Things, Ikos 12
“… But I know how nature gives praise to You: in winter I have beheld the moonlit stillness when the whole earth quietly prays to You, clothed in white and sparkling with diamonds of snow – I have seen how the rising sun rejoices in You and the choirs of birds resound in praise – I have heard the forest speak mysteriously of You, the waters gurgle and the choirs of stars preach of You with their harmonious movement in infinite space. But what is my praise! Nature responds to Your laws, but I do not. Yet while I am alive, I see Your love, I want to thank, to pray, to call out:
Glory to You Who has shown us light,
Glory to You Who has loved us with love immeasurable, deep, Divine,
Glory to You Who has surrounded us with light, with hosts of angels and saints,
Glory to You, O Holy Father, Who has willed us Your Kingdom,
Glory to You, Holy Spirit and life-giving sun of the future age,
Glory to You for everything, O Divine Trinity, all bountiful,
Glory to You, O God, unto ages of ages. “
Source obtained 4/17/2013 http://www.stnicholasdc.org/files/Prayers/Akathist-of-Thanksgiving.pdf