Right into the heart of me!
As Eastern Orthodox Christians, we are getting ready to celebrate Pascha (Easter) this Sunday. Soooo, the house has been cleaned thoroughly and yours truly here has made not 1...not 2...not 3....but 8 (yup eight) tsourekia (Greek braided Easter Bread)! Boo ya!
Man of House has started the Greek-style lamb (to be followed by Greek roasted potatoes, Greek salad, Cypriot salad, Russian Pascha, a Greek desert called "galaktoboureko", koulourakia [Greek butter cookies].....and more!)
While all this breaks the long Paschal Fast and helps us celebrate the Miracle of the Resurrection, it is one of the endings of a hard spiritual journey.
The food is good...OK, it is GREAT!....but the ultimate reward is a renewed sense of spirituality in ourselves and all mankind....it is the understanding of what Jesus did for us and why...it is a vow to be better people....and so much more!
Holy Week started for us last Sunday with Palm Sunday and a sense that the really hard part of the Lent was now upon us. This past week Services for the Bridegroom (Christ) and Holy Unction left a sense of somberness upon us....and then Holy Thursday.....where (as a tradition for many in my family) we stayed up with the Crucified Christ (we have a large icon of Christ on the Cross at our house). Usually we stay up till around 3:00 am. Recently, we have also started watching The Passion of the Christ on this night ....it sure does put words like "scourging" in to perspective....but this night we managed to stay up till around 6:00! Woo hoo! (This tradition is from the Hebrew faith of staying up all night with the body of a recently deceased loved-one....some Greeks still do this....and oftentimes it is done at a church). A variety of prayers also fill this night, as does quiet contemplation.
Now it is Great Friday....and the mood is still somber. A purple mourning wreath is at our door. QUIET rules the house....and we wait. We wait for the Blessed News of His Resurrection....we wait....