THOSE IN THE TOMBS (СУЩИЕ ВО ГРОБЕХ)
“Christ is risen from the dead, / trampling down death by death, / and upon those in the tombs (καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι, и сущим во гробех) / bestowing life!” (Byzantine Troparion-hymn of Pascha/Easter)
So – who are “those in the tombs”? All of us, practically. “Those in the tombs” are those of us “buried,” either in our work or in a relationship, or in a “dead” indifference to work or a relationship (I realize that sounds paradoxical, but both those situations are “deadening”); or in some obsession or addiction, like an unhealthy dependency on a thing or person.
But Christ “is risen” from all our darkness, having walked through it; having confronted all our weakness, anger, resentment, fear, despondency, and insufficiency, which led Him to the Cross, – which was His calling or “vocation.” He “trampled” all our “death” and deadness, by walking through that “death,” and rising from it, as He was “called” to do by the Father, and as only He could, as the Source of Life, in His divinity and divine calling.
So I can also walk through it all today, but not on my own. I can trample death “by death,” by walking in and with Him through my vocation and responsibilities, which may, at times, , – when I try to tackle them on my own, – seem dark and deadening. But, paradoxically, they (my vocation and responsibilities) are also the very thing that leads me to life, because I am called to do them. And Christ has paved the way for me, which is the way of the Cross, of not avoiding my responsibilities, but walking through them, in and with Him. So let me receive life, by walking through it, because it is “bestowed” to me by One Who knows the way out of my “tomb,” which is, paradoxically, my vocation. So let me take it up today, handing it over to Him in heartfelt prayer, and opening up to His help. “Christ is risen from the dead,” dear zillions, “trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs" - all of us, - "bestowing life!”