Paschal Evangelism

Paschal Evangelism

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In his second letter to Timothy, St. Paul instructed his spiritual son to do the work of an evangelist. What does that mean? Are we to stand on street corners and harangue people we don’t know? Argue with friends on the internet? What, exactly, is the work of an evangelist?

An evangelist: the word means a good angel, or a good messenger. A person bringing good news. That’s all it means; that’s all we’re asked to do. Share good news with people.

And in the Gospels of Lent, the Church reminds us how to do that. On the first Sunday, we hear these words:

The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote-Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

Read that again. Nathanael was a skeptic. Philip shares his good news, and Nathanael tells him, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” And Philip says, “Come and see.”

Come and see.

Do you have friends who are not Orthodox? Friends who perhaps do not go to church at all? What about your children, and their friends? Invite them to join you at church for Pascha. There is no more resounding proclamation of the good news to the world than the words that we sing at Pascha. From the Paschal canon to the homily of St. John Chrysostom to the resounding shout, “Christ is risen!” the good news is proclaimed.

Come and see.

It will be crowded. Remember the Gospel from the second Sunday of Lent?

And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house. Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them. Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.”

Come and see. Come with me. If you can’t get there on your own, we’ll bring you.

That is the work of the evangelist.

When my children were young, we invited their friends to Agape vespers and the picnic and treat hunt that our parish holds every year. When they were older, they invited their friends to the midnight services.

Teenagers love the idea of candles and darkness and staying out until the sun comes up. The music. The shouting. The feast afterwards. Even though it’s church, it seems slightly subversive. My children’s friends came. They weren’t all Christians. Some were atheist. Some were of other faiths. They came.

Come and see. Come with me. We’ll bring you.

I can’t say that all the visitors that we’ve brought to Pascha services have become Orthodox. I can say that, like the crowd that was in the house when the paralytic was healed, they went out amazed, saying “We never saw anything like this!”

There’s still time before Pascha to do the work of an evangelist.

Come and see. Come with me. We’ll bring you.


Posted by the Orthodox Christian Network. You can find the Orthodox Christian Network on Google+

About author
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Charlotte Riggle

Charlotte Riggle is the author of Catherine’s Pascha and The Saint Nicholas Day Snow. These children’s picture books let you see these holy days through the eyes of a child. Charlotte believes that home decorating is chiefly achieved by installing enough bookshelves. She has discovered that there is no such thing as enough bookshelves. She and her husband, Alex Riggle, attend Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church, Shoreline, Washington. You can find more about her books at www.charlotteriggle.com.