Born and raised in Indiana as the son of a doctor who was gifted in writing, Roger devoted most of his talents in the field of music as composser, arranger, and producer of both live and recorded music since the 70’s. He currently lives in Florida and continues to create music (and various music-and-sound-related productions) for OCN and others; and, having converted to the Orthodox Faith in 2010, he enjoys writing the blog series “Musings of a Grateful Convert” for The Sounding.
The entire Orthodox Christian world is in the midst of celebrating the glorious afterglow of Pascha known as Bright Week. With what kind of images can we feed our minds to get the most out of this experience?
I would suggest the image of the sun; not the sun itself—you can go blind looking at it, right? However, humorous as this remark might seem, it bears remembering that in a similar way, no man has ever seen God at any time. The conventional wisdom on this is that God is so very brilliant (BRIGHT) that any creature would wither and disintegrate in its presence.
But the image of a bright, stellar ball, usually colored bright yellow on a white piece of paper, does well to represent this idea. Holy Scripture refers to Jesus as the “Sun of righteousness” who arises with healing in His wings. In fact, the image—the ikon—of the yellow spherical star can justifiably be replaced by the icon of Christ Himself. All through Holy Scripture, we see He is the brilliance and the glory of God.
“In Him is no darkness at all.”
“The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
“He is the Light that enlightens every man.”
The Light of Resurrection
During this blessed Season, we greet each other with “Christ is Risen!..Truly He is Risen!” As it happens, “Christ is risen!” eventually gives way in the Liturgical practice of the Church-prescribed greeting to “Christ is in our midst!” Knowing that Christ is the risen brilliance of God should carry us forward to realizing that wherever we go, whatever we encounter, in whatever happens, that brilliance, that dazzling light, that Glory—that Brightness—will carry us to a higher place.
Why? Because that brilliance and Light is ever with us through God’s greatest human expression of love of all time.
Perhaps an even more dramatic display of Bright Week can be found in the instance of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. The brilliance of the Light—its very brightness, was like a carrier wave for the voice of Christ himself:
“As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’” (Acts 9:3-4a)
Apparently, the experience Saul (our beloved St. Paul) had was a life-changing experience. He was also blinded by that Light until he was received into the Church through the healing hands of Ananias:
“And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized; and he took food and was strengthened.”
From this wondrous encounter we may pause to reflect on “what are the scales on my eyes that are in some way blinding me?” And, perhaps Bright Week is not so much something we “participate in,” as it is something that happens to us on the road to theosis. Something glorious, something enlightening—something BRIGHT.
Let us take Bright Week with us on our whole journey.
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