CELEBRATING SPRINGTIME AND FREEDOM
“On this day spring is fragrant, and the new creation dances; today the bars are removed from the doors and from the disbelief of the friend Thomas, who cries out: My Lord and my God.” (Exapostilarion/Light-Hymn of Thomas Sunday)
It’s springtime! I love that today our church’s hymnography celebrates this fact, along with the fact that it is Thomas Sunday, the day of the liberation of Thomas from disbelief, and, — for New Calendar folks, — also the feast of St. George and his brave witness “against the tyrants” of his day. One of the stichera-hymns for St. George (at the Litya of Vespers) proclaims: “Let us rejoice, for spring has come! …The memorial of the Passion-Bearer shines, enlightening the faithful. …For he, as a good soldier, has contended bravely against the tyrants…” Just in case any of us thought that the “spiritual” life of the Orthodox Church means being unaware either of the physical or political realities of our world, we celebrate today both the beautiful springtime, and the courageous stance of St. George against “the tyrants.” They executed him for being “a good soldier” of Christ, rather than “a good soldier” of their wars.
We celebrate the courage and witness of St. George, who was through his faith in Christ liberated from the fear of “the tyrants.” We also celebrate St. Thomas, who, despite the voices of disbelief in his own head, came and saw and even touched the risen Lord, and was thus liberated from the bondage of his own thoughts. This is the new freedom and the new happiness to which we are all called, from whatever bondage we may be enduring in our own lives today, whether it is an addiction to this or that thing, or an unhealthy relationship, ambition, or self-isolated and self-centered fears in our own heads. We can truly enjoy the springtime, if we let ourselves come and see and believe today, in a Lord who is able and willing to offer Himself to us, despite the “closed doors” of our hearts. Christ is Risen!