(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday, 26 April 2019)
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of a loving God.
This coming Sunday is Easter Sunday. Of course, most of you probably already had your Easters last week, but for Orthodox Christians everywhere who follow a different calendar, Easter lands on this Sunday. Our family is Greek Orthodox, so for us, this is Holy Week. Now usually when people hear we’re Greek Orthodox they are really confused. No, we don’t believe in Zeus or any form of Greek mythology. We are Christian and we believe pretty much everything that Roman Catholics do; we just have a different way of celebrating it.
Anyway, Marina and I wanted to take some time to share with you what Easter is like for us and things we do each year to celebrate. One of my favorite things to do during Easter is go to the midnight service on Holy Saturday. Everyone gets candles and the room is lit only by their light. The Church is filled with hymns and everything about it is truly beautiful. Plus, at the end of the service everyone tries to keep their candles lit until they get home in an attempt to bring back with them the light of Christ. It’s sort of like bringing back a blessing. Now, is trying to drive home in the middle of the night with an open flame in your car the safest thing in the world?? I mean…probably not. But we’re Greek and it is just what we do.
When day hits on Easter Sunday, you can find us surrounded by family, and lots of Greek food. Greeting people on Sunday is always done the same way. One person says, Christos Anesti, which means Christ has risen. Then the other person responds, Alethos Anesti, which means Truly, He has risen. This is really just an emphasis of what Easter is really all about. So basically, Easter for us is a bunch of Greeks with Greek food, being loud and celebrating the resurrection of Jesus.
Another tradition we have is the red Easter eggs. This is where we hard boil eggs and dye them red to represent the blood Jesus shed for us. We then all gather together, each with our own egg, and one by one hit the egg on that of another person. We make sure to say Christos Anesti and Alethos Anesti each time. At the end, whoever has at least one uncracked side of an egg wins and has good luck for the rest of the year. I never win but it’s fun nonetheless.
So there you have it, a little piece of us and who we are as Orthodox Christians. At the end of the day, we as Greeks have a lot of pride in our faith and who we are, and we would not want to have it any other way. Come this Sunday, take a second to think of your Orthodox brothers and sisters, because when push comes to shove, we are all celebrating the same thing; and the way we do it is just in the details!
Let us pray.
Dear God, may we all find comfort in each other’s common ground, but may we all find awe and respect for the things that differentiate us from one another.
St. John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us.
Live Jesus in our Hearts…Forever.
Elena Rouse–Class of 2019 and Marina Rouse–Class of 2020