Today is the Leavetaking (that’s a fancy word for end) of Pascha. That means today is the final day we sing and say Christ is Risen for another year. Our Churches will undecorated today in anticipation of the Feast of Ascension which begins with Great Vespers this evening. The Resurrection Banner is put away, the Epitaphios Icon is returned to it place of storage, and the last few remaining flowers are cleaned out. Some may even say the Church is “back to normal” because it will look like it does the rest of the year again. What if the Resurrection was normal rather than the other way around?
Just because we won’t sing Christ is Risen until next year doesn’t mean Christ isn’t still risen. Just because His body is returned to Cross behind the Holy Altar doesn’t mean He is crucified again. Just because we don’t see the resurrection icon every day on the Soleas doesn’t mean we can’t benefit from His Life-Giving mission.
The real normal for us is to live as if He really is risen and, as we will celebrate tomorrow, has ascended back to His Throne in heaven. This time, however, He has taken us with Him to heaven. The real normal is for us to live every day as if we are sitting with God on His Throne, because we are. So wish your friends “one final” (until next year) Christ is Risen today, but remember you now have a new normal. You are united in Baptism and Chrismation with the same Christ Who rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. Live like you don’t need an icon on the Soleas to remind you what is normal.