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Resurrection And Sacraments

Resurrection and Sacraments - St Shenouda Monastery Pimonakhos Articles

The Resurrection as an unseen power granted to us through Baptism and the Holy Eucharist: We do not believe that Christ’s Resurrection is something that concerns Him only but it primarily concerns us too. Christ was risen for our sakes ‘he rose and raised us with him’ as the Apostle Paul says, so in believing in Christ’s Resurrection is included our participation in the Resurrection. Christ died for us in the body so that death may not have any power over us, and may no longer be considered as a punishment for us but as a way and means to the Resurrection and life everlasting. Therefore, Christ’s Resurrection from the dead carries within its power and impression a new – life and another birth to all mankind. As the Apostle Peter says: “has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”. ( 1 Peter 1:13). From this verse it is clear that Christ’s resurrection was not Christ’s alone, but it was a Divine act that encompassed all mankind all those who believe. Christ gave us a second birth by his Resurrection, so we became as the Bible says. ‘Children of the Resurrection’ i.e. children over whom death has no sovereignty, “But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” (Luke 20:35-36). From this it is clear how Jesus became the second Adam by whose death and resurrection from the dead, we were born again to everlasting life.

Baptism gives the concealed power of the Resurrection: in order to complete the second birth as Jesus promised Nicodemus, Christ has so decreed that after believing the word, we are reborn spiritually through him, living body by water and the Holy Spirit in Baptism. Christ has given this, great importance, especially after his Resurrection as we see at the end of every Gospel because when we are reborn through Christ’s living body, we are instantly transformed into children of the living God, Children of the Resurrection Children of the cross, the blood and the empty grave over whom death will have no power; or as Christ says, ‘They cannot die’. Therefore, we receive the strength and power of the Resurrection as we go through burial in the water; but this remains an invisible and unproven power of the Resurrection until its deeds are fulfilled through the spiritual behaviour in the course of life. For example: a baby is born with the potential to stand and walk in his human nature but remains unable to use those potentials until he grows and develops.

The Eucharist gives us the Resurrection in a form of mutual confirmation: In the Eucharist the Resurrection starts taking its clearest form. Here, we eat the invisible body, thus we receive the life that is in it, i.e., we receive the resurrection. The power of this expression is made clear when we know that eating the Eucharist takes place on two levels a visible living level in the materials of the sacrament bread and wine and a spiritual, invisible level when we eat and drink the divine body and blood which are ‘true food and true drink’. The truth is ‘Alithia’ something that transcends the senses and human brain, ‘Alithia’ is here Christ himself, ‘am the truth’. Therefore, in the Eucharist, we eat Christ — the risen Christ in a spiritual body eaten in spirit as truth is. We eat it and drink it and unite with it, as we eat the bread and drink the blood, which are then transformed within us as strength and energy for the continuation of our bodily life.

In the Eucharist, we receive the Resurrection as a power that flows in our soul giving it spiritual energy, light, holiness, purity and everything necessary for everlasting life and the way to heaven for all the children of the Resurrection. Every time we eat the bread of the Eucharist and drink from the cup we are confirmed in Christ’s Resurrection and Christ’s Resurrection is confirmed in us day after day so that we may fulfil the will of the Father as children of the Resurrection. Thus, the Eucharist is a nourishment for the Resurrection and an eternal remedy that cures all the ills of the children of death. It is the food of the wedding guests who are invited to eat from the Lamb in eternal bliss.

(From: Coptic Church Review 1.1, p9-10)