Dear Transfiguration family,
In the 11th century, the Muslim Caliph Al-Hakim decreed the closure of all Churches in Egypt for nine years. It was a time of great distress for all Christians. One day, the Caliph was walking through the streets where Christians resided and he heard their voices praising and praying in each house. Then he said, “Open their churches again and let them pray as they please. I wished to close a Church in every street. But today I discovered that when I made this decree, a church was opened in every home.”
We find ourselves in totally unique circumstances. The threat of infection hangs over our every routine, breaking and dismantling them. Perhaps we will not face the infection itself. But we will encounter its side effects, many of yesterday's distant threats could present themselves directly in front of us tomorrow. We are reminded once again of our smallness, our helplessness, and our mortality. We have been humbled.
We have been prepared to walk with our Redeemer through His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, to the Garden with its betrayal, the prison and its mocking scourge, the Cross, and the tomb. Continuing to and through the tomb, we are being led to the dawn of the Dayspring from on High, the Resurrection. Our way is unblocked, and light shines through from the other side. That light is our hope in the darkness. We must always look for it. Turn to it. Strive to get closer to it, regardless of whether or not we can safely attend the services of the Church.
Not a Caliph, but a different oppressor has confined us to our homes. However, the Little Church of the home is the bedrock of the Church at large. Though it is unclear if we will all be able to participate in the services, not certain that we will bring a candle home from Church on Pascha, and mark our doorway with a Cross - we must realize the fulfillment of these symbolic acts. Rather than a candle, we are being invited to bring the Light Himself home. Rather than a burnt mark on our doorway, we are being asked to allow the Cross to be the door to our common home, the Kingdom of God, where the Life himself is King.
Bidding you all a fruitful end to the trials of Lent, a heartfelt Passion Week, and a Glorious and Bright Resurrection, I remain,
Yours in Christ,