The life of the present age is not a rejection or nullification of this age, but an externalization of all things in this age that are worthy of being externalized; just as the eternity of the future is not a forgetting or abolition of time but a cessation of its changeable course. The glorification of the creature in the resurrection is accomplished by the feat of self-renunciation. For Christ’s resurrection takes place by virtue of his voluntary suffering and death on the cross, by the fact that he has “trampled down death by death.”
The victory over death is accomplished from within, by means of death itself. The life of this world is lived out to the end in Christ’s death, just as death, known and experienced to the end, is now powerless to hold him, for it is exhausted in him …. The resurrection is not the creation of a new life, but the victory over death in death itself. It is eternal life, shining out of death, the eternal life of “Christ risen from the grave like a bridegroom.”
Christ’s resurrection is therefore an externalization of his salvific death, which crowns his redemptive passion and the entire way of the Incarnation. Christ’s resurrection is accomplished by the cross, by virtue of the sacrificial feat of love and obedience. “We venerate your cross, O Lord, and we praise and glorify your holy resurrection.”
In the trampling down of death, in the triumph of the resurrection, the cross is the foundation and power of the joy of the resurrection. The bliss of paradise preserves the memory of suffering illuminated and overcome, just as the light is in the victory over the “darkness that was upon the face of the deep,” the Divine world clothing in beauty and order “the earth … without form and void” (Genesis 1:2).
This age passes into the future age and is transfigured in it, just as the earthly body of the Lord was transfigured in the resurrection. The body of the resurrected Lord retains the wounds made by the nails and the wound in his side made by the lance as a testimony of its identity to itself; and the power of Christ’s resurrection is revealed in the unity of this age and of the future age.
— Fr. Sergei Bulgakov
in the essay “Divine Joy” in Churchly Joy (Eerdmans)
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The Anastasis icon above was done by John Reves
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❖ IN COMMUNION / Pascha/ Spring 2011/ Issue 60