The Last Pascha – A Reverie

(Written in 2015) I had a reverie around the time of Pascha. My life has had many chapters. I have loved friends and lost friends. My memory is filled with much that is bittersweet – not my favorite flavor. But my reverie was a dream of Pascha – the Last Pascha. I wrote this in a Facebook post and have looked it up numerous times for balm for my tired soul. Today, I wanted more balm. So I’m posting this to share it with you. If it helps, that is well. If it doesn’t, then ignore the reverie of an old man. And have peace. And do not quit singing.

The Last Pascha.

It dawns and everyone is there. And we can’t quite remember what we might have had against each other. We’re so glad to see faces that we know. Memory fades like the pains in our bones as we stand with joy and see the Face of Christ. In the light of His Face, only the present has any reality. All things become present in Him. And a sound is heard, first in the distance, but we can’t quite figure where in the distance, and it draws nearer…

It is a song being sung. It seems strange though familiar and then I seem to know the words and I’m surprised at the sound and the strength of my own voice and how it interacts with every other voice, no two singing the same tune and yet it’s one song. Everyone hears it in their own language. It is the Song of the Lamb.

And since every moment is present, there is no sense of how long we have been singing or how long we will sing. But in the Song, everything comes right. The creation beneath our feet begins to awaken. And the Song is taken up by trees and rocks, rivers and sky, until all of creation sings.

And slowly, the motion of a Dance…

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present and the Glory to God podcast series.



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21 responses to “The Last Pascha – A Reverie”

  1. Catherine Avatar
    Catherine

    Thank you, Father, for this most needed balm. I seem to need more as I get older. Even my soul has old bones.
    May we all sing and dance the Song of the Lamb throughout eternity. Blessed Pascha!

  2. Marina Avatar
    Marina

    God bless you Father Stephen. A blessed Pascha to you and all! Thank you for your inspired writing.

  3. Cindy Avatar
    Cindy

    This is so beautiful Father Stephen. It stirs up my heart and threads a ribbon of hope around my aching soul. Beyond knowing, an understanding that moves beyond words, I yearn for connection, peace, and joy. To love and be loved – knowing it beyond my thoughts, seeing it in my Risen Lord, feeling it in how others commune with me. I admit that the Lord’s love resides more in my mind and is often elusive to my imperceptive soul. Your words have been both a wakening and balm for me over the years and I give thanks for you spirit and written offerings in my daily prayers.

  4. Lewis Avatar
    Lewis

    The Song of the Lamb. And we sheep can sing it — with the trees, the rocks, the rivers and the sky. Amen.

  5. David Gilchrist Avatar
    David Gilchrist

    Thank you Father!
    Are you an old man?? 😳
    I thought you were about the same age as me (I was born in 1951 😉) !

    Christ is risen!
    Fr David
    (assistant priest at the Orthodox parish in Margate, England)

  6. Anna Sen Avatar
    Anna Sen

    Father Stephen,
    I love your posts!!
    Christos Anesti from Qld , Australia.

  7. Daniel Houseworth Avatar
    Daniel Houseworth

    Thank you Father. I have spent the last 3 days in a “Lithuanian” Orthodox Church in Vilnius, “participating” in the final Liturgies of Holy Week – all in Russian. I am an American, living in Germany, and a Catechumen in the Romanian Orthodox Church. I yearn for the day when we will all sing the Song of the Lamb, together and in the “same” language. Christ is Risen! Kristus prisikėlė! Hristos a înviat! Christus ist auferstanden! Христос воскресе!

  8. Dino Avatar
    Dino

    An old man with an eternally youthful voice! in perfect harmony with that “divine and beloved and sweetest voice that pledged to eternally be with us”. Christ is Risen dearest Father Stephen!

  9. Michael Bauman Avatar
    Michael Bauman

    The Angel Cried. … “With Himself He has raised all the dead, Rejoice, all ye people”.
    So it was, so it is, so it shall always be.

  10. Ken Avatar
    Ken

    Thank you. This is beautiful. I read this in Pascha morning having coffee with my wife. She wondered why I was crying

  11. Margaret Avatar
    Margaret

    Amen and Amen! Thank you! Christ is Risen!

  12. Zoe Avatar
    Zoe

    And your words, Fr Stephen, fall on my wounded soul like myrrh on the wound! Thank God for you!!

    Christ is Risen!!

  13. Joan Moulton Avatar
    Joan Moulton

    Christ is risen!
    Your balm brought Paschal tears. That’s what I call them. I never know when they will come during the services though almost always at St. John’s Paschal Homily.
    Also, your balm brings to mind the scene in C. S. Lewis’s The Magician’s Nephew when the earth’s life is created by Aslan’s singing.
    Thank you, Father Stephen, for sharing your thoughts with us . They are always enriching.

  14. Margaret Avatar
    Margaret

    Christ is Risen! On this Bright Monday the quote of the day reminded me of your post here, Fr. Stephen:
    “Undoubtedly, every prayer offered to God remains saved for all of us in eternity. On the day of the universal resurrection, all such prayers will stand next to us, turning into the imperishable light of a truly holy life in the city of our God.” — St. Sophrony of Essex
    This quote of April 25, 2022 was found in the 2022 Daily Lives, Miracles, and Wisdom of the Saints & Fasting Calendar published by the Orthodox Calendar Company.

  15. Christa Avatar
    Christa

    ” but in the song everything comes right….and slowly the motion of a dance”
    Amen, amen, amen! Bittersweet is transformed. Love becomes light! The Glory of the Lord is revealed! “Shine, Shine. Shine ..Shine New Jerusalem!” How can I keep from dancing?

  16. Fr. Stephen Freeman Avatar

    Christa,
    I bemoan the fact that I was nurtured in a non-dancing culture (Anglo-Southern) and marvel jealously at the dancing world of the Middle East and Eastern Europe. I think particularly of the many “circle dances.” In the Church, generally, the liturgical movement is in a circle, going out the North door and returning through the South door (or even the circle dance of a Cross procession). It is a dance that also reflects that movement of the stars across the sky, which, in turn is but a reflection of the Great Dance of the angels on high around the throne of God.

    Of course, CS Lewis captures this brilliantly in the end of his book, Perelandra, perhaps my favorite scene in all of his writings.

  17. Drewster2000 Avatar
    Drewster2000

    I’m reminded of C. S. Lewis…twice.

    The first was in the Magician’s Nephew where Aslan sings a new world into existence. He is of course the source of this great Song you speak of.

    The second was in Perelandria when Ransom is waiting to meet the gods and lays back on the ground and witnesses the whole world dancing in the sky like one big tapestry or orchestra. Everyone has their own unique part but all parts weave seamlessly and harmoniously together.

    And all this makes my heart ache to go home…

    Chris is Risen!

  18. Dee of St Hermans Avatar
    Dee of St Hermans

    Christos Anesti, dear Father and faithful readers!

  19. Byron Avatar
    Byron

    Alithos Anesti, dear Dee!

  20. Cathy Avatar
    Cathy

    Perhaps one of the most BEAUTIFUL things I have ever read!! Alleluia!

  21. David Waite Avatar
    David Waite

    Amen.

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