In Orthodox churches across the country, we hear the same sermon read during our midnight Pascha service each year. All through Lent we wait for it. We look forward to those words. We anticipate.
I look at my life and notice the ebb and the flow. Each season is different. During some Paschal seasons, I have been the first. I have fasted, not just with my body but with my soul. I have held the hope of the resurrection in my heart from the moment our 40-day journey to Pascha began.
But some seasons I am the last. This year I was the last.
I fasted in body but neglected my spirit. I doubted my faith and wrestled with misgivings about the goodness of our Creator. I did not hold onto hope. Yet even so, on Holy Saturday, I baked the Pascha bread and boiled our eggs for dyeing, watching the steam rise in misty ribbons. I sifted and mixed and kneaded until I felt my soul shudder and rumble to life. And in these small actions– perhaps because of them– I became ready to celebrate.
And the dough rose like my spirits.
Like the resurrection.
Christ is Risen!